13 Soldiers from Sayeret Matkal, the IDF's most prestigious combat unit, shocked the Israeli public tonight when announcing to Prime Minister Sharon that they will refuse to fight a war that is destroying their moral character.
Their letter, inspired by the Combatant's Letter, carries a similar message: the soldiers can no longer avoid their personal responsibility for the situation in the Occupied Territories. We bring you an English translation of their letter:
Mr. Ariel Sharon
We, citizens of Israel who fulfill our duty as reserve soldiers, fighters and officers, veterans of Sayeret Matkal, have chosen to walk at the head of our camp, as we have been taught. Out of concern for the future of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist, Democratic state, and out of fear for its moral character we declare that:
- We shall no longer lend a hand in the occupation of the territories
- We shall no longer take part in the deprivation of basic human rights from millions of Palestinians
- We shall no long serve as a shield in the crusade of the settlements
- We shall no longer corrupt our moral character in missions of oppression
- We shall no longer deny our responsibility as soldiers of the Israeli DEFENSE force.
We fear for the fate of the children of this country, who are constantly subjected to an evil that is unnecessary, an evil in which we have participated. We have long ago crossed the line of those who fight for their own protection; we stand facing the border of those who fight to conquer another people.
We shall not cross this border!
We emphasize that we shall continue to protect Israel and its citizens.
"Who Dares Win"
After the Combatants' letter and the Pilots' Letter, the Commandos' Letter is further evidence that the occupation is a threat to Tzahal and to the state of Israel. When the finest of our boys refuse to serve, and are willing to risk severe sanctions in order to voice their cry of distress, it is high time our leaders understood that the occupation must be ended.
Courage to Refuse announced today that more letters of refusal from different units of the IDF are to be expected in the future.