nb. this and other photos on this page are courtesy of ‘Nick the Possum‘.
On July 2nd, 2006, I was privileged to be asked to be one of the speakers at
a rally in support of the people of Gaza. This brief speech was my contribution.
I want to thank you for the privilage of being asked to address this rally today, and I want to express my sense of solidarity with the people of Gaza and with all of you who stand here in support of our sisters and brothers in Palestine who are suffering so terribly.
Please allow me to read to you today a statement made by some former members of the Israeli Defence Forces that appeared in an ad in Ha’aretz (Israel’s leading daily newspaper) last week.
It is entitled, “It is a soldier’s right and duty to refuse to shed innocent blood.“
We, combat soldiers and officers of the Israeli Defence Forces, have served long years on various fronts and lost comrades in the struggle to defend our homeland. The security of Israel and the values of the IDF were and are our guiding principles.
We call upon IDF regular and reserve troops – pilots, sailors and artillerymen – to refuse to shoot on Gaza. The IDF shooting on Gaza has already caused the death of dozens of innocent civilians, including little children. It has achieved nothing but intensification of the shooting of Qassam rockets on Sderot and stoking the fires of hatred against Israel.
Shooting into the world’s most thickly populated area is a war crime which contravenes the spirit of the IDF and harms the security of the state. We call upon the soldiers of the IDF to refuse to break the State of Israel’s moral spine.
True security would never be achieved by the killing of children. It is the right and duty of every soldiers in the IDF to refuse to shed innocent blood.”
Ometz Le’sarev – Courage to Refuse: Refusing – for the sake of Israel
I read this because it reminds me that what we are seeing in Gaza is not a conflict between Jews and Palestinians, for indeed there are many Jews within Israel and around the world who are working as diligently for the rights of the Palestinian people as we are.
It is not a battle between Jew and Palestinian any more than it is a battle between religions. What we are confronting here is not a race nor a religion, but simply a government that is failing to recognise the fundamental human rights of another community of people.
The suffering of the Palestinian people has been enormous, over many years, and now it seems it has reached its lowest ebb. How much more can these people be expected to endure?
And so we hope and we pray and we plead on the Government of Israel to recognise the humanity of the Palestinian people, and to end the oppression, and we call upon our government to speak out – to remain silent no longer, in the face of this inhuman violence.