Re: Fighters-Turned-Peace-Activists Speak Out
- From: Rick <mulemanrick@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:56:40 -0800 (PST)
On Jan 22, 4:32 pm, whistler <whistler...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
As Gaza Plunges into Darkness, Israeli and Palestinian Fighters-Turned-
Peace-Activists Speak Out
The United Nations is accusing Israel of collectively punishing the
Palestinian population in Gaza by cutting off fuel supplies as part of
a blockade of the Gaza Strip.
PRIME MINISTER EHUD OLMERT: [translated] We will not allow a
humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but we have no intention of making their
lives easy. As long as these hardships are greater, providing there
are no humanitarian blows, not in hospitals, not in clinics, not with
young children, not with helpless people, we will not allow it. But in
no way will we let them live comfortable and pleasant lives. As far as
I'm concerned, all the residents of Gaza can go on foot and have no
fuel for cars, because they have a murderous terrorist regime that
doesn't allow people in the south of Israel to live in peace.
AMY GOODMAN: In the midst of this deepening crisis, I spoke to an
Israeli and Palestinian peace activist: Yonatan Shapira and Bassam
Aramin. They are from a group called Combatants for Peace that's made
up of former fighters from both Israel and Palestine. Bassam Aramin
spent seven years in an Israeli prison, was an armed member of Fatah,
the Palestinian political faction once led by Yasser Arafat. Bassam's
ten-year-old daughter Abir died one year ago after being shot by
Israeli soldiers while she was on her way home from school. Yonatan
Shapira is a captain in the Israeli Air Force and Black Hawk pilot
squadron--well, he was. In 2003, he authored the "Pilots' Letter,"
refusing to participate in attacks against Palestinians.
I spoke to the two former fighters on Thursday about their efforts for
peace and their thoughts on attacks in Gaza. I started by asking
Yonatan Shapira how he went from being a pilot in the Israeli military
to a peace activist.
YONATAN SHAPIRA: I was a captain in the Israeli Air Force and
flew Black Hawk, which is mostly rescue helicopter in the Israeli Air
Force. And after a long, long process of becoming aware of the world
they live in and mostly the occupation and the war crimes that my
government and my army is part of, I decided to refuse to be part of
this circle of revenge. The reason for that were many. I think
especially the assassinations that started to happen during the Sharon
government, especially one assassination that caused the loss of many
innocents, fifteen innocent, including nine children and babies, that
led me and many of my friends--
AMY GOODMAN: What was your involvement in that?
YONATAN SHAPIRA: Oh, I was not involved in any shooting directly
on anyone, because I flew rescue missions and I landed commando
forces. But I felt that it doesn't matter. If you shoot yourself or
you land soldiers that are shooting someone or your friend in the
other squadron is dropping bombs on innocents, once you are part of
it, once you are part of a society even, once you are part of the
world, you have responsibility, especially if you're part of an air
force that is being sent on a daily basis to kill. And most of the
people who died there are innocents, just like happened in the last
And I found other people in the air force that agree with me and
were willing to sign the letter that I authored saying that we are no
longer willing to follow illegal and immoral orders. That was called
the "Pilots' Letter." We published it in September 2003.
AMY GOODMAN: And how unusual was that letter?
YONATAN SHAPIRA: We were not the first Israeli refusers. We were
not the first Israelis to say we are not going to be part of these war
crimes anymore. But it's the first time that a pilot organized and did
something like that. And in Israel, which, as you know, it's a very
militaristic society, ..................s
I saw that this morning, glad someone else did too. The pilot
refusenik goes on to say that that with these drones, they no-longer
need as many pilots to carry out operations.
- Fighters-Turned-Peace-Activists Speak Out
- From: whistler
- Fighters-Turned-Peace-Activists Speak Out
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