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Israelli pilots refuse to bomb occupied territories, say "Immoral"

by systemfailure Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 10:43 PM

Anti-semitic Jews? Is that possible? Israelli Air Force pilots are refusing to bomb Occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza strip, calling the occupation "immoral" REMEMBER ---ACCORDING TO THE CONSERVATIVE RIGHT WINGERS...IF YOU DONT SUPPORT ISRAEL..THEN YOU ARE AN ANTI-SEMITE.

JERUSALEM - Israel on Thursday temporarily grounded reserve air force pilots who — in an unprecedented protest — condemned airstrikes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "immoral" and refused to fly such sorties. ==========

The declaration by 27 pilots, including nine on active duty, was widely criticized in Israel as subversive at a time of war, but it also revived a flagging debate on the ethics of Israel's three-year war on Palestinian militants.

The protest struck a nerve because many Israelis believe their military has higher moral standards than that of their neighbors, and that other countries would have been much more ruthless.

The military is also seen as an institution that binds the fractious nation; Israelis get jittery at signs of cracks in the ranks. The air force in particular is considered key to Israel's survival, and pilots are held in the highest regard. Critics also say such talk gives ammunition to Israel's enemies.

The air force quickly tried to contain the damage. Commander Maj. Gen. Dan Halutz said the nine active pilots, grounded for now, could face suspension and perhaps military jail if they don't retract.

He said the rebels are a tiny minority among thousands of pilots. Hundreds of pilots began circulating declarations Thursday that expressed support for their commanders.

The protesters came under fire for mixing their moral dilemma with political opinion — their declaration said the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip corrupts society.

Even moderate Israelis said this is a mistake, because it could set a precedent. "When the time comes, say, to remove settlers from their homes, other people in the army or in the air force will say they don't want to obey these orders in the same way," said Col. Uri Dromi, an air force reservist.

Veteran journalist Dan Margalit wrote in a front-page commentary in the Maariv daily that the pilots abused their exalted standing.

"If their idea is accepted, Ahmed Yassin and his compatriots in the Hamas leadership will be able to plan the next murder of Jewish children on a Jerusalem bus without interference," Margalit wrote, referring to an August bus bombing that killed 23 people, six of them children.

Only veteran leaders of Israel's dovish left, including Yossi Sarid and Shulamit Aloni of the Meretz party, defended the pilots.

Several hundred Israelis have refused to serve in the West Bank and Gaza. There have been protests such as last weekend's Tel Aviv rally in which several thousand called for ending the occupation. But no major anti-war movement has emerged during the current fighting with the Palestinians, and most Israelis support the military's actions.

The group of 27 is informally led by Brig. Gen. Yiftah Spector, a highly decorated retired pilot who, according to Israeli media, took part in the bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.



In their petition, the pilots said airstrikes on crowded Palestinian areas are "illegal and immoral."

In three years of fighting, Israeli pilots have carried out hundreds of airstrikes, targeting Palestinian police installations and weapons workshops of militants. The most controversial involve targeted killings in which helicopters — and sometimes warplanes — fire rockets and bombs at cars and homes of Palestinian militants.

 Some 140 wanted Palestinians have died in targeted raids, according to Palestinian medical officials, though the figure also includes those killed resisting arrest. More than 100 bystanders have also died, they said.

The Israeli public, traumatized by a Palestinian suicide bombing campaign that has killed hundreds since September 2000, largely supports the targeted killings.

A watershed for some pilots was last year's attack on Salah Shehadeh, leader of the Hamas military wing. A one-ton bomb killed Shehadeh, an assistant and 14 civilians, nine of them children. Halutz, the air force commander, had said he felt the bombing was morally correct.

In response to last month's Jerusalem bombing, Israel accelerated targeted attacks, killing 13 Hamas members and six bystanders in nearly a dozen airstrikes in Gaza City.



One of the 27 pilots, identified only as Capt. Alon, told the Yediot Ahronot daily he was now ashamed to be a member of the air force. "It's an organization that has no qualms about dropping bombs ... on the densest neighborhoods in the world ...," he was quoted as saying.

It was the first time pilots have come out openly against air force policy. In the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, some expressed reservations about bombing cities and refugee camps but did not go public.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 30 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
finally anti nazi Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 10:47 PM
especially the intro @ you gotta read this one Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 10:51 PM
Of course they're anti-Semites! @ Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 11:08 PM
systemidiot realworld Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 11:24 PM
In the same way Wat Tyler Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 11:29 PM
NOTICE priceless Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 11:41 PM
Imagine that fresca Friday, Sep. 26, 2003 at 11:49 PM
Speaking of traitors frescasnot... Black cat Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 12:14 AM
ROFL fresca Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 12:29 AM
By the way fresca Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 12:31 AM
i hate nonrepublicans We heart Bush!!! Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 3:24 AM
i'm glad zooboomafoo Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 6:12 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 7:52 PM
What about Hamas? Rob F. Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 9:42 PM
The New X The New X Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 9:53 PM
I'll comment, Rob. nonanarchist Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 9:54 PM
Huh? fresca Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 10:04 PM
Good post, fresca. nonanarchist Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 10:13 PM
Thanks fresca Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 10:15 PM
Good. nonanarchist Saturday, Sep. 27, 2003 at 10:17 PM
you guys are one hundred percent right friend of fresca and nonanarchist Sunday, Sep. 28, 2003 at 6:46 AM
25 Rules of Disinformation: How to Fight Back Oracle Sunday, Sep. 28, 2003 at 7:55 AM
"friend" nonanarchist Sunday, Sep. 28, 2003 at 11:07 AM
^^^^delusions of grandeur PSY OPS Monday, Sep. 29, 2003 at 3:23 AM
Terrorisim Wavemaster Monday, Sep. 29, 2003 at 4:46 AM
Wavemaster fresca Monday, Sep. 29, 2003 at 5:22 AM
PSY OPS nonanarchist Monday, Sep. 29, 2003 at 11:04 AM
Let's see here: nonanarchist Monday, Sep. 29, 2003 at 11:11 AM
hate from arab media www.memri.org Monday, Sep. 29, 2003 at 1:55 PM
wow me Wednesday, Nov. 05, 2003 at 4:05 AM

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