By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
As Sharon's siege continues, the focus of the Israeli-Palestinian war is shifting to a growing group of Israeli reservist soldiers who are refusing to fight. By Monday the number of these "refuseniks" had grown to 404. They include officers, paratroopers, combat infantry, engineersthe entire gamut of the Israeli Defense Forces. Over the weekend, a group protested in front of Sharon's home in Jerusalem. Thirty-two have been sent to jail, according to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz.
Statements by two reservists provide a glimpse of their thinking. Reserve Corporal David Pearlman, who refused to serve in the territories and was sent to prison for 14 days: "The principles and motives that six and a half years ago led me to leave Australia, come to live in Israel, and serve as a regular conscript in the Israel Defense Forces, and later as a reservist, are the same principles and motives that have prompted me, now, to refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories and play a part in carrying out immoral actions."
A second reservist, Elad Lahav, sentenced to 28 days in prison: "Since seder night, I have been living with a terrible feeling because of the horrific terror attack in Netanya, because of the government's decision to conduct an ongoing act of war, the final outcome of which no one knows, and due to the fact that I am herewhile my unit comrades are stationed in Hebron. . . . I am a Zionist and a patriot and went to serve in an infantry unit out of free choice. When I informed [the IDF] of my refusal to do reserve duty in Hebron, around half of my friends in my platoon told me that they supported my actions. The others said they didn't agree with me, but understood me."
The refuseniks' statement, in part: "We, reserve combat officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who were raised upon the principles of Zionism, sacrifice, and giving to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, who have always served in the front lines, and who were the first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, in order to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it.
"We, combat officers and soldiers who have served the State of Israel for long weeks every year, in spite of the dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people. We, whose eyes have seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides.
"We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country.
"We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF's human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society.
"We, who know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end.
"We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements.
"We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve, and humiliate an entire people.
"We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel's defense.
"The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purposeand we shall take no part in them. . . . "
Where the insurance industry has been prevented from openly redlining areas it won't cover for racial reasons, terrorism is providing it an entirely new way of limiting or outright excluding inner-city areas, along with certain industries. Put cynically, it's another way for this huge, virtually unregulated segment of the financial services industry to make money off the September 11 attack by limiting policy holders to the cream of the crop and casting aside others on the grounds that they may be subject to terrorist attack.
In what amounts to a new national policy, big insurers (who are now part of an industry that includes banking, real estate, travel, and securities firms) issue terrorist exclusions on policies covering office buildings and businesses such as the chemical industry. But the exclusions reach down to small objects. The owner of two flutes, for example, in the West Village in New York City recently received a "Terrorism Exclusion" that read, "We will not pay for loss, destruction, damage, cost or expense to Covered Property occasioned by or happening through as a direct or indirect consequences of 'Act(s) of Terrorism.' "
Whether the exclusion is legal is debatable. New York, Texas, and California have theoretically refused to permit terrorist-exclusion riders. However, John Cucci, a spokesman for the Alliance of American Insurers, said terrorism provisions currently are part of policies negotiated case by case in New York. But a spokesman for the New York Department of Insurance said that this is not the case, and that even if the policyholder and the company agreed to an exclusion, the deal must be approved by the departmentand it has not approved any such policy.