13 Israeli reservists from elite unit refuse to serve the occupation

Today 13 Israeli reservists from the Israeli army’s top commando unit, “Sayeret Matkal” announced they would no longer serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, reflecting growing unease with Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The reservists, including three officers, made their announcement in a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “Sayeret Matkal” is the top commando unit in the Israeli army. In September, Israeli pilots wrote a similar letter, refusing to take part in air strikes on Palestinians living in the occupied territories. Several hundred Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the Palestinian territories and have been sentenced to prison terms.

Full text of the letter from the thirteen reservists

To: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

We, citizens who serve in active reserve duty, soldiers and officers, Sayeret Matkal veterans, have also chosen to join the front guard in the way we have been trained. With grave concern for the future of Israel as a democratic Zionist and Jewish state, and with concern for her moral image � we can no longer stand asside.

We tell you today:

  • We shall no longer lend our hand to the subjugation taking place in the territories.
  • We shall no longer lend our hand to the quelling of human rights of millions of Palestinians.
  • We shall no longer serve as a defense shield for the settlements campaign.
  • We shall no longer deface our human image as an army of occupation.
  • We shall no longer deny our commitment as fighters in the Israel defense forces.

    We fear for the fate of the children of this land, exposed to an evil that is unnecessary, and to which we have lent our hands. We have long transgressed the limits of soldiers, just in their ways, and have become fighters suppressing another nation.

    We shall not cross this limit anymore.

    We stress and declare: We shall continue to protect the State of Israel and the security of its people from all enemies.

    “He who dares � wins.”