The Duty to Obey
The duty to obey the law is not absolute. Even when the law does not promote the political, economic and social ideology of the average citizen, it is incumbent upon him to yield and protect the strength of democracy. But when the state requests that the same citizen violate his conscience and principles, it is then that he must stop and say, "Enough is enough"!!!
The duty to obey the law is not absolute. Every individual should draw his or her own red line. We think our line has been crossed. And you? Where do you draw your red line?
There are those who say our battle over the right to refuse shouldn't come from within the ranks of the army. That is a ridiculous claim. Let's not forget that the question about refusal to serve in the Territories is not a theoretical, philosophical or academic question for me and for many of my friends. It is a practical question that we must constantly answer, every year. Our refusal must come within the ranks of the army, because the country is sending us to the Territories to fight as soldiers. For us the Occupation is not only a political question, but a cruel reality in which we find ourselves commanded to kill, wound, destroy, demolish, and “expose” (bulldozer clean a patch of land, uprooting every tree and demolishing every building in it). After all, there is no such thing as an "enlightened Occupation."
They ask: why have we suddenly woken up now? Let me correct this mistake: we have been awake for some time. Many of us have been trying to change the army from within for more than ten years. Only a person who has been in the Territories knows how completely the army is entangled in its paradigm of Occupation.
There are those that say our action is not democratic. Incorrect. It is the only democratic action that a soldier can take, when he needs to pack his bags the following morning, kiss his wife goodbye and become a different person for the next month. In our act of refusal we are signaling to our leaders that they can rule us, but they cannot rule who we are. It is time to remind anyone who has forgotten, that even sovereignty has its limits. This, I am happy to say, is the true meaning of democracy.
An argument used against us is that if we are not there, someone else will need to guard instead of us. Sorry, but we are tired of strengthening the messianic nationalistic desires of groups that are removed from the mainstream, paying for it with our own health and sanity.
Another argument against us is that our actions are a precedent for future refusals by the right wing. On the contrary, we truly and honestly believe in the democratic right of a person to refuse, for conscientious reasons, to evict his mother and father from their house. Do they also respect my right?
Another argument against us is that we are weakening the country. The strength and power of the country is based on the belief in its justice and morality. The State of Israel, by ruling another people, is losing its moral compass, and as a result the real strength of the country has been severely damaged. The strength of the army is not based upon the number of tanks it has, but upon the belief the soldiers have in the justice of its way and the morality of its cause.
And all we are asking is that you stop for a moment. Think. Ask. This reality isn't forced upon us: we are creating it. We have the power to change it.