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Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, called up to take part in controversial campaigns like the 1982 invasion of Leban or policing duties in the Palestinian territories today, have refused orders. Many of these 'refuseniks' have faced prison sentences rather than take part in what they regard as an unjust occupation in defence of illegal Jewish settlements. In this inspirational book, Peretz Kidron, himself a refusenik, gives us the stories, experiences, viewpoints, even poetry, of these courageous conscripts who believe in their country, but t in its actions beyond its borders. We read about the cautious, even embarrassed, response of the authorities. And we see the wider implications of the philosophy of selective refusal - which is t the same thing as pacifism -- for conscientious citizens in every country where conscription still exists. Here is a real model for the peace movement in Israel and worldwide.
Peretz Kidron was born in Vienna in 1933. Months after the Nazi occupation of Austria, his family fled to Britain. On graduation from high school, he emigrated to Israel where he lived for 20 years in Zikim, a border kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, where he grew oranges, taught school, and engaged in voluntary work. A freelance journalist, broadcaster and writer, he has translated many books, including the memoirs of Yitzhak Rabin and Ezer Weizman, and a biography of David Ben Gurion. In 1976 he co-authored with the Palestinian activist, Raymonda Tawil, her memoirs My Home, My Prison. In the late sixties, he became active in the radical left and peace movement. He is a founding member of the Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and serves on the steering committee of the human rights watchdog Betselem. Having refused to perform military duty in the occupied Palestinian territories, he now handles international contacts for Yesh Gvul ('There is a limit [to what an army can ask of its conscripts]'). Founded at the time of the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the group became the voice and campaigning vehicle for the so-called refuseniks -- Israeli army reservists who report for duty when summoned but refuse morally objectionable assignments (notably serving on the West Bank and Gaza).