Friday, October 23, 2009

Refusing Illegal Orders (Early)

It is probably the first time in IDF history that such an event ever happened.

Yesterday, during their graduation ceremony at the Kotel, a few soldiers from the Shimshon Unit in the Kfir Brigade held up signs saying "Shimshon will NOT evacuate Homesh".


Source: Makor Rishon

A number of parents also held up similar signs.

The brigade commander said he is considering what the future will be for the soldiers involved.

Whatever happens to these particular soldiers, one thing is clear, this new generation of post-Expulsion soldiers will not blindly follow orders to kick their fellow Jews out of their homes.

Unlike the Left-wing draft-dodging High School students, these soldiers went through months of grueling training. They have/had bright futures ahead of them serving their country in combat units and as officers. They sacrificed a lot just to reach that point to be able to stand in front of the Kotel and receive their Bibles and berets .

They clearly discussed this action in advance and the ramifications it would have - with their families and with each other. They knew the price they might pay for taking an action like this - and they are obviously willing to pay it to get the message across.

This is a wake-up call for the army and the government.

The army is getting the message (openly and quietly) that many of its soldiers will no longer follow illegal political orders to kick fellow Jews out of their homes, and that those obsessed with Peace had better find a new tool, because it won't be them.

(Some people like to say that those kind of soldiers should all be kicked out, but then the army would be bereft of most of its field combat officers and soldiers).

Obviously there will be critics of these soldiers, but I say better the army knows now they won't have internal support for such actions, because then the government learns that the army is for defending Israel, and not for attacking one's own citizens - and is incapable of fulfilling such an evil mission again.

Yes, there will be those who criticize these soldiers. Some will say they should just follow orders. Some will say they should have waited until they received the illegal orders.

I personally will not judge them. For whatever reason (perhaps they themselves were expelled from their homes during the Expulsion) they felt this was the right time for them to announce their refusal.

Update: Apparently the brigade had received numerous orders to evacuate outposts at the former site of the town of Homesh, and this was their way of protesting those orders.


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27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Refusing orders is somewhere between insubordination and treason and they should be dealt with accordingly.

Orange and Black said...

That's why the Nazis were innocent. They didn't want to be insubordinate or treasonous. They were just following orders.

Akiva said...

Anonymous - so said the German soldiers prosecuted for war crimes.

Would you answer the same if they were requested to slaughter the civilian population of an arab settlement in the Shomron and refused?

Kol HaKavod l'Chem!

Anonymous said...

This is an extremely complex question as evidenced by the Rabbinic opinions on both sides. The stakes are bruno shel olam level.
KT
Joel Rich

Alpha3958 said...

If the situation ever arises where these soldiers are ordered to evacuate a settlement, and they refuse for moral reasons, that would be legitimate.

However, for soldiers to pull a political stunt like this tarnishes the image of the IDF and is unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

The Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem violate international law. Period.

Anonymous said...

Only you interpretation of International law. Period.

Jeremy said...

1) Anonymous (12:16)- you can't simply make a statement like that, and use "period" instead of actually making a rational claim. There are many who disagree with you, and I'm not sure what you added to the conversation.

2) Akiva- I think that a better way of getting your point across would be if the request was not c"v to slaughter a civilian population, but to uproot it and displace it. Perhaps an Arab village in Israel proper, rather than in the Shomron?

RivkA with a capital A said...

Mixed opinions:

Alpha 3958 makes a good point -- that these ceremonies are not an appropriate venue for soldiers to make a statement like this.

That said, my gut is so with those boys!

Michael H said...

As much as I sympthys with them, I have a problem with soldiers openly becomming involved in such political matters. The Army should be under civilan control. And as such, it is the civilan commanders who are responsible for orders like evacuations.

The soldier should disobey ONLY when there is a clear and obvious illegal order. And as much as I think evacuations area bubbleheaded idea, it does not fall under that catagory.

Michael H said...

Just to clarify my comments, an obvious illegal order would be something like deliberate killing of civilians or POWs.

Anonymous said...

Akiva - Would you answer the same if they were requested to slaughter the civilian population of an Arab settlement in the Shomron and refused?

What kind of question is this? Of course it would be illegal. And if a commander orders his troops to do such a thing, not only should they refuse the order, but they should take that commander into custody and turn him over to the nearest MP.

Shavuah Tov everyone.

Mark

Anonymous said...

there is a bigger question at hand here, and that is the relationship between secular left living in pre67 israel, and the dati leumi community on both sides of the line.

while both sides have competing images of what the country should look like, unless a consensus is made, there will be a disastrous breakdown.

In my opinion, it is the dati leumi and settlement movement that has selfishly pushed its ideals upon the rest of the country over the past 3 decades. Until it is conceives of a way to integrate the rest of the country into its vision, it is leading the nation closer and closer to a civil war.

one can make all sorts of arguments as to why a pullout is dangerous, but unless one sells that argument to the secular left the country will be divided and destroyed. The fault of such a disaster will lie squarely on the shoulders of the settlement movement and their leaders.

rembrandt

Anonymous said...

Both sides have competing visions, but only one side is to blame?!

picasso

Gedalia said...

Isn't it amazing that outside of Arutz Sheva, no Israeli media have picked up this story - Jpost, Haaretz, Ynet etc.

If they were left wing activists with a message to send you can guarantee that the coverage would not only be headline news for Israel, but global as well.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Gedalia: Yediot Achronot ran this as a front page picture on their Friday edition. Since JoeSettler doesn't get Yediot, he didnt see it. (I saw it in the supermarket while shopping erev shabbat).

Anonymous said...

most of the left (being quite general with that term) wishes to live in an israel as relatively defined by pre67 borders. the right wing's vision is the activist one which seeks to push a certain platform upon the other. it is therefore to blame by virtue of the fact that it choses to work against the original status quo.


rembrandt

Anonymous said...

...and therefore imposes on the others who must take part in funding and protecting the settlement project. (I'm not arguing that the settlements are inherently wrong, only that they cast an unwanted burden on their partners in the society)

rembrandt

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I'm not arguing that the settlements are inherently wrong, only that they cast an unwanted burden on their partners in the society

Hi rembrandt -- How about Gaza? (or specifically, Sederot, and southern Israel) Is that an unwanted burden on society? Because of them, we had to fight the cast lead war. Because of them, Goldstone castigated us. There are (and were) plenty of leftwingers saying we had no right to fight the Palestinians in Gaza.

The left is definitely pushing a platform on the rest of the country, which involves less secure borders and guaranteed wars (which the left will not want to fight in, either).

Also - you have conveniently forgotten that the Labor party was very pro-settlement till the late 1970s. They founded and build Gush Katif, Gush Etzion, and the Jordan Valley settlements. The rest of the settlement enterprise which flourished from the Begin through Shamir was "the majority". Settlement policy was very much part of the national consensus till the Rabin government in 1992.

Before then, only a tiny minority supported the terror organizations of the PLO. Most leftists pre-Olso wouldn't have dreamed of a fundamentalist Islamic, pro-Iran, militarized Palestinian State, like Gaza is today.

Lurker said...

Michael H: The soldier should disobey ONLY when there is a clear and obvious illegal order. And as much as I think evacuations area bubbleheaded idea, it does not fall under that catagory.

I see. And what if the soldiers are ordered to forcibly expel thousands of residents of an Arab village, and then destroy all their homes?

Would that be a legal order?

Or would it only be legal if the expellees are Jews?

Lurker said...

rembrandt: In my opinion, it is the dati leumi and settlement movement that has selfishly pushed its ideals upon the rest of the country over the past 3 decades.

So when the Education Ministry forces all school children to participate in ceremonies celebrating the "Legacy of Peace" of Yitzhak Rabin -- even when their parents are opposed to such political indoctrination -- this is not one segment of Israeli society "push[ing] its ideals upon the rest of the country"?

How about the fact that I am forced to pay a separate, special tax, for the sole purpose of funding a particular television station which broadcasts left-wing propaganda and incitement that I (and thousands of others) abhor and don't want to watch? This is also not one segment of society "push[ing] its ideals upon the rest of the country"?

The "settlers" are not even allowed to have their own radio station. They did once, but it was forcibly shut down by the government.

Your idea of what constitutes "push[ing] ideals upon the rest of the country" (and what doesn't) is so warped as to be laughable.

van gogh

Lurker said...

rembrandt: most of the left (being quite general with that term) wishes to live in an israel as relatively defined by pre67 borders. the right wing's vision is the activist one which seeks to push a certain platform upon the other. it is therefore to blame by virtue of the fact that it choses to work against the original status quo.

Do you even know what "status quo" means?

The majority of "settlements" in the "West Bank" were built by Labor governments, under Yitzhak Rabin and Golda Meir. It was only long after most of the "settlements" were built that the Labor Party started changing its mind about allowing Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, and only recently becan advocating the forcible expulsion of the Israelis whom they themselves actively encouraged to go live in the "settlements".

So you are wrong: It is the Left, not the Right, who "choses to work against the original status quo".

Or perhaps you do not regard the Labor Party as "Left"?

monet

Michaelangelo said...

Your idea of what constitutes "push[ing] ideals upon the rest of the country" (and what doesn't) is so warped as to be laughable.

van gogh


van gogh: You're such an idiot -- go cut off your other ear.

Lurker said...

Michaelangelo: You're such an idiot -- go cut off your other ear.

What an impressive rebuttal.

Thank you for providing us all with such a clear demonstration of the logic and substance of your opinions.

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers

As far as I understand, the Gush Emunim movement lead by Rav Levinger and others sought to create facts on the ground by squating in various areas of the territories. Those squats then became the various yeshuvim that we have today. Jewish chicks taking over an old hospital in Chevron in order to create facts on the ground were going clearly against what was government policy of the time, so was the actions taken in what is now Kedumim.

the Labor governments simply chose not to expend much political capital to fight these actions because of expediency. At the time it was not as costly and the stakes were not as high as they are today. It was thrown out of power in 1977 due mostly to scandals (two years after the establishment of Kedumim).

Regardless of all this, the settlement movement demands that the nation sends its children to the territories to defend those jewish towns. While the 'buffer' zone argument is plausible, it has not yet been sold on a sizable segment of the Israeli population.

Unless that happens, much of the Israeli populace believes that it is going off to fight a war who's righteousness is dubious (in their minds). Thus when the shit hits the fan, the alienation caused by the settlement movement will be to blame.

ps.

Comparing a ban on right wing radio stations, or tax money paying for teaching about Rabin in schools is laughable compared to the sums of money it costs to maintain, defend and subsidize the yeshuvim.

rembrandt

Lurker said...

rembrandt: Comparing a ban on right wing radio stations, or tax money paying for teaching about Rabin in schools is laughable compared to the sums of money it costs to maintain, defend and subsidize the yeshuvim.

You wrote that the the dati leumi community -- as opposed to the left -- is "selfishly push[ing] its ideals upon the rest of the country":

there is a bigger question at hand here, and that is the relationship between secular left living in pre67 israel, and the dati leumi community on both sides of the line...
In my opinion, it is the dati leumi and settlement movement that has selfishly pushed its ideals upon the rest of the country...


I countered your claim with two examples (from among many) in which the left is pushing its ideals upon the rest of the country.

According to you, however, the fact that the Ministry of Education is attempting, against my wishes, to force political indoctrination upon my child, is immaterial. And the reason it is immaterial is because the forced indoctrination in question (supposedly) costs less money than the protection of Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria.

So let me get this straight: Since this forced political indoctrination by the left costs less money, that means that this indoctrination does not constitute an attempt by the left to "push its ideals" upon others. And likewise, the forcible closing of a radio station because of its political views does not does not constitute an attempt by the left to "push its ideals" upon others -- because it didn't cost much money to shut down the station.

Your argument is so ridiculous that it does not merit the dignity of a response.

renoir

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that both sides don't play poltiics, or that the left is infallible.

I am however saying that these nonsensical political maneuverings that you mentioned are incomparable to an entire infastructural, manpower, ideological and monetary commitment to maintain, protect and fund Yesha.

You're inability to show the least bit empathy towards the large segment of your country that is weary of the struggle to keep Yesha is exactly the reason that you are on a collision course towards civil war.

God save us.

-rembrandt

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