•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

Israeli soldier refuses duty in Lebanon war

Published Jul 25, 2006 10:39 PM

Refusal by members of an oppressor army to fight against an oppressed people usually begins only after the oppressed have shown they are courageous and competent fighters. Hezbollah’s resistance to Israel’s attacks has already borne fruit.

On July 19, the first Israeli to refuse that country’s criminal invasion of Lebanon went public. Staff Sgt. Itzik Shabbat refused his emergency order to report for reserve duty in the occupied territories. The reserve troops are aimed at replacing combat troops in the standing army for duty in southern Lebanon, where the Israeli Defense Forces have met stronger than expected resistance from Hezbollah and other defenders of Lebanese territory.

All Israeli Jews, women and men, are subject to military conscription. Men are also required to spend one month a year in the reserves until they are 50 years old.

Shabbat, who is a television producer in his civilian life in the Israeli settler state, said in a statement to the newspaper Haaretz, referring to Hezbollah’s rockets: “I know people will attack me and ask how could I not take part in this war when Qassams are falling on my hometown and Katyushas on the towns in the north. In my opinion, only this type of opposition that I’ve chosen will put an end to the madness that is going on now and will shatter the false feeling that the entire home front supports this unnecessary war that is based on deceptive considerations.”

He added: “Someone has to be the first to break the silence and it will be me. It is a shame that my order was signed by another Sderot resident, Defense Minister Amir Peretz.” Shabbat, who is also a resident of Sderot, told Haaretz he has already informed his commander and other officers in the unit of his intentions and is prepared to face the consequences.

Shabbat has a prior history of refusing to serve in the occupied territories. He was imprisoned 28 days for this. He was also one of those who signed a petition put out by the refusal movement, Courage to Refuse. Haaretz reported that his decision not to report at the present time is “not connected with the need to relieve a unit in the territories but rather with his opposition to the war in Lebanon.”