In January 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, a group of 51 combat reservists published a letter in which they stated their refusal to serve in the occupied territories. The army’s presence there, they said, was no longer about protecting Israel, but instead was intended “to rule over, expel, starve, and humiliate a whole nation.” Dozens of others signed their names to the letter within weeks and, ultimately, close to a thousand soldiers and officers expressed their support for the movement. Many of them were discharged from their units; hundreds served prison terms, ranging between a week and a couple of months. It was a key moment in the history of the Israeli left, and the strongest act of opposition that it mounted during the Second Intifada.
The occupation didn’t end.
Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.