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Courage to Refuse > Press > Suspensions for the Pilots who Signed Refusal Letter – by Amos Harel and Lily Galili
Suspensions for the Pilots who Signed Refusal Letter – by Amos Harel and Lily Galili 25/09/2003
 
 

The letter, details of which were first published in Ha’aretz last week, is signed by 27 reserve duty pilots, but only nine are still doing active duty in the Air Force. The signatories addressed their letter to the Air Force Commander, Major General Dan Halutz, and defined the aerial attacks in the territories as “illegal and immoral,” declaring their refusal to participate in aerial attacks in the heart of densely populated Palestinian areas in the territories.

The nine active duty pilots who announced in a letter that they would refuse to participate in attacks on targets in the territories were suspended this morning (Thursday) from service, by order of the Air Force Commander, Major General Dan Halutz. In a letter to the pilots’ base commanders, Halutz stated that the signatories would be summoned for clarification meetings with the base commanders, and if they stick to their positions, they will probably be ousted from active service in the Air Force. He noted that pilots who retracted their refusal would only be allowed to fly upon authorization from the Air Force Commander. Furthermore, Halutz also ordered the irrevocable grounding of those signatories who serve as instructors at the Hatzerim flight school. “These are not the figures who should be educating the next generations,” Halutz wrote. The meetings with the signatories will most likely occur after Rosh Hashanah.

 

The letter, details of which were first published in Ha’aretz last week, is signed by 27 reserve duty pilots, but only nine are still doing active duty in the Air Force. The signatories addressed their letter to the Air Force Commander, Major General Dan Halutz, and defined the aerial attacks in the territories as “illegal and immoral,” declaring their refusal to participate in aerial attacks in the heart of densely populated Palestinian areas in the territories. “We refuse to continue harming innocent civilians (…) The continuation of the occupation is critically detrimental to the security of the State of Israel,” they wrote to the Air Force Commander.

 

Major General Halutz told Ha’aretz last night that he intends to handle the signatories “in the same way the IDF has handled the refusers up to now. This is a proven approach.” During the next few days, the nine pilots will be summoned for talks with their base commanders. If they do not retract their positions, they will be ousted from the force.

 

Furthermore, Halutz has ordered in investigation into the legality of some signatories wearing flight-suits during interviews yesterday on Channel 2. He believes pilots are permitted to wear flight-suits only during reserve duty; if they were on reserve duty, they were required to obtain permission from the IDF to be interviewed. He says he is “completely at peace” with the Air Force activities in the territories. Halutz wrote to senior officers in the Air Force last night: “Most of the signatories were never required to take part in targeted assassinations in the territories. They are not active combatants or do not serve in squadrons involved in those operations.”


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