Tuesday, June 28, 2005

IDF Soldiers Refusing Orders to expell Jews - justified ?

Here's what I wrote in response to my fellow co-blogger Eran, who said:

>I'm against refusing, in the army, an order is an order, the
>refusing was said by fanatics. Besides, most "settlers" say that they'll only
>use their abilty to convince as a "weapon", no violence.

OK, think about it - what would happen if someone succeeded to convince a soldier that expelling Jews was wrong ?

Right, the soldier would refuse his orders to deport them.

There is a certain principle in most if not all armies of the Western World, which permits individual soldiers to refuse orders on grounds of their personal conscience.

I'm sure Israel's IDF respect that custom as well.

It's the distinguishing mark of free nation's armies from those of tyrannies, and came into broader practice after WWII, I guess, as many German soldiers ( well, less the common soldiers, I mean those of the special units like SS, Waffen-SS, etc. ) "excused" their shooting, beating, gassing of Jews with the mere remark "It was ordered ! - Not my fault ! An order is an order !" ...
These thugs thought they could escape personal responsibility by clinging to that order-is-order principle. Sadly, many actually did ... but that's another story.

The essence is that in "enlightened" armies of today, each soldier bears the responsibility for what he does. Whatever he does, he may be held accountable for it one day ... whether it was ordered from above or not. That does not mean that the commander who gives the order was freed of his guilt, to the contrary. Both the giver and the receiver of an order may be held accountable for what they commit in terms of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

So every single soldier has the responsibility to weigh his orders carefully, if they appear to him not kosher in any way. That doesn't mean that a soldier got the right to refuse anything, or start a debate in combat wether to fire upon a suspicious vehicle or not, or whether it was a good idea to throw a hand-grenade into a window before storming a house occupied by enemy fighters -- it applies to grave problematics only, issues of conscience, not tactics. Admittedly, sometimes the line may be hard to draw ...

Killing a bunch of civilians on purpose e.g. is definitely illegal, and any soldier has the moral duty to refuse it ( not to be confused with casualties, which are sometimes unavoidable ). In Germany, refusing illegal orders will not even trigger a trial of the soldier who refused to carry the order out - it is expected, and encouraged, to refuse any clearly illegal orders. Expelling people from their land would be legal grounds for a refusal of orders too, I think. It is both illegal ( http://israelnn.com/article.php3?id=5251 ) and immoral.
The soldiers who refuse such an order on grounds of conscience will most likely still face a trial, though, where they'll have to detail their cases, and may face punishment still.

So it's still a difficult decision for a soldier to refuse an order.
It takes some serious guts for sure.

But, as they say, freedom is never free.
Some men will always have to sacrifice their lives* to keep it real ...

( * in Western armies, the most severe punishment for refusing orders is getting thrown out of the army, I guess ... perhaps some jail-time, but no more than a couple months, usually only a degradation or fine. Definitely nobody is hanged anymore, or locked away for more than a year afaik )

And hundreds of IDF soldiers have already proclaimed publicly that they will refuse the orders to expell Jews.

God bless them.
We need strong personalities like them, standing up against all odds.

They joined the army to defend Israel, to deter the enemy and, if necessary, die in combat for the preservation of the Jewish homeland.

They did not join to drag Jewish families, men, women and children, out of their homes and deport them ... only to give the land on which they dwelled to islamist terrorists who seek to destroy Israel.

It's a justifiable refusal of an order on grounds of consciential objection.
Not in their weirdest nightmares could they have dreamed about such a "duty" being assigned onto them. They have every reason to object to such an order.

And I hope many more will join them ...

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