Yesh Gvul! (There is a limit!)1
We all have limits ... you are asked to do things that should not be asked of you - to shoot people, to stop ambulances, to destroy houses in which you don't know if there are people living. -- IDF reserve Lt. Daniel Zonstein
is an Israeli organization that supports soldiers who refuse to participate in illegal or immoral military assignments
. It was founded in 1982 in response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon
and the subsequent acts of slaughter and repression. Today it stands opposed to Israeli military actions in the West Bank
that have brutalized thousands of Palestinians.
Yesh Gvul! provides counseling to soldiers trying to choose between serving policies they find abhorrent, or defying military discipline. To those who opt for selective refusal, Yesh Gvul! extends moral and material backing, ranging from financial support for families of imprisoned refuseniks to pickets at military prisons where they are held.
Yesh Gvul! stresses the right and duty of every soldier to scrutinize the orders he receives, and to reject assignments found morally or politically repugnant. Yesh Gvul! recognizes circumstances when force is legitimate, as in defense against external aggression, or in pursuit of national liberation from foreign tyranny. But it rejects the abuse of military might for unworthy ends.
Due in large part to organizations like Yesh Gvul! there is a growing civil disobedience movement within the Israeli Defense Forces. One such group, Courage to Refuse, has a public petition for soldiers to sign that says:
We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.
As of June 13th, 2003 - 1125 combat officers and soldiers had signed the petition
. These are veterans who have served with distinction - from the ranks of Sergeant to Major. Thousands of Israeli civilian
s have signed an accompanying petition in support of these soldiers - many of whom have been jailed for refusing to serve in the occupied lands.
This is now our moment of truth, and every one of us has to decide if he is or is not of the human race.
1 ariels says "Yesh gvul" also means "there is a border", which is, of course, relevant to their cause.