Aktion in Südkorea, 2015. Foto: Connection e.V.

Aktion in Südkorea, 2015. Foto: Connection e.V.

41 Israeli reserve soldiers refuse to take part in invasion of Rafah

Newsletter of the Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN)

by Mattan Helman

(02.06.2024) Hi,

Mattan here. I am the executive director of RSN and in 2017 I spent 110 days in prison because I refused to serve the Israeli occupation. Two weeks ago, I shared our belief that a new wave of refusal was imminent. I urged you to sign our petition supporting Israeli conscientious objectors. Thanks to you, it now has over 1,700 signatories. You sent a clear message to Israeli refusers: “We have your back”. 

Last Friday, the first concrete move in this refuser wave went public. 41 Israeli reserve soldiers published a letter declaring that they refuse to take part in the assault on Rafah, endangering uninvolved civilians, the hostages, and themselves. Below is the full text of their letter:

„We are reserve soldiers who have been called up for duty since October 7. On that morning we woke up to a terrible and indiscriminate massacre where hundreds of civilians were murdered and kidnapped. We enlisted out of a deep feeling of commitment and necessity. We took part in the war effort in order to protect our home, and to ensure the security and wellbeing of our lives, the lives of our families, and the lives of all Israel’s citizens.

For over half a year we’ve been in a state of war, and yet more than 120 are still held in Gaza by Hamas. The half year in which we took part in the war effort has proven to us that military action alone will not bring the hostages home. Every day that passes endangers the lives of the hostages and the soldiers still in Gaza, and does not restore security to those living on the Gaza and northern borders.

As we write this letter, the invasion of Rafah has begun. This invasion not only endangers our lives and those of innocent civilians in Rafah, but will also not bring back the hostages – whose rescue is one of the main reasons we enlisted – alive. It’s either Rafah or the hostages, and we choose the hostages.

Therefore, following the decision to prefer the invasion of Rafah over a hostage deal, we, reservist soldiers, declare that our conscience will not allow us to enlist, and that we will not lend a hand to the abandoning of the lives of the hostages and the torpedoing of another deal. 

The time has come to choose life, to invest all our efforts and resources in negotiating a deal that will bring back the hostages and restore the security of the State of Israel.”

It’s important to remember that this letter is directed at Israelis, using language that resonates within internal Israeli discourse. As such, it has the power to influence change and ultimately help end the horrors in Gaza. Refusal, regardless of the reason behind it, has the potential to end the war.

This initiative marks the start of a refusal wave and others will follow. The growing number of refusers will increase the amount of resources required to support them. We at RSN are launching a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $30,000 to meet these needs over the next six months. The campaign will fund legal and psychological aid to refusers and war resisters, the amplification of their voices, and support for their direct actions.

You helped inspire these refusers to take a stand, please continue showing them
we have their back. Consider donating if you can. Every donation makes a difference.

In solidarity,

Mattan Helman
Executive Director
Refuser Solidarity Network

Mattan Helman, 41 Israeli reserve soldiers refuse to take part in invasion of Rafah. Newsletter of the Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN). Sent via email on June 2, 2024, https://mailchi.mp/refuser/the-problem-is-not-a-specific-soldier-it-is-the-entire-army-refuser-solidarity-network-17973302

Keywords:    ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Desertion   ⇒ Israel   ⇒ Peace Movement   ⇒ Self Organisation   ⇒ USA