Geneva Initiative Annexes
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The protest of absolute suckers

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz
02.07.2012
 
"A fair distribution of the burden of military service is a principle worth fighting for. But it is infinitely more important, and more urgent, to fight against the burden itself: the burden of the presence of tens of thousands of civilians in the heart of a foreign population."
 
Energetic young folk take to the streets to call on our elected officials to guarantee the equal right of every Jew to die for the homeland. (The Arabs will care for the wounded in the hospitals. ) They also protest the fact that they don't see ultra-Orthodox families on Memorial Day. As if all the wars were necessary. As if the next war, presumably in the occupied territories, will be a divine decree, totally unrelated to Israeli government policy and lapses. What's important is that the Haredim will be forced to exchange their black suits for khaki uniforms so that they, too, can guard kindergartners in Migron. What's important is that everyone is screwed equally. What's important is not to be a freier, a sucker.
 
The suckers don't ask why mandatory service for men is three years; what's important is that everyone serve. They should be reminded that in the mid-1960s, coincidental with the dismantling of military rule within the Green Line, the government of Levi Eshkol decided to reduce the duration of mandatory service from 30 months to 26 months. Only two draft cohorts, those whose service ended in 1966, enjoyed this generous benefit. Shortly after the Six-Day War - the war that widened Israel's "narrow waistline" and the distance between the Arabs and the international airport - the four months were added back to compulsory service for men. An additional six months were tacked on a few years later, under the Defense (Emergency ) Regulations.
 
A fair distribution of the burden of military service is a principle worth fighting for. But it is infinitely more important, and more urgent, to fight against the burden itself: the burden of the occupation. Several months ago, in a document he submitted to the Middle East Quartet, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas proposed stationing international forces in the (demilitarized ) territories and along the eastern border of Palestine, as part of the final status arrangement.
 
It is obvious that such an arrangement, which would include the evacuation of the settlements in the heart of the territories, would reduce the burden on Israel's security forces, which were turned into occupation forces. Ever since Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad took the reins, the top ranks of the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service have had the highest praise for the PA's performance in reducing violence, and for the close cooperation with the commanders of the Palestinian security forces.
 
The suckers' encampment doesn't protest against the government for treating the PA leadership as spineless collaborators. The suckers are saving their threat to "go all the way" for the prospect of the Plesner Committee's failure to meet their demand to draft Haredim. They will pack up and go home quietly if they are promised that the Haredim will share with them the cost of the confrontation that will break out in the territories over the government's settlement policy.
 
It would not occur to them to organize a mass refusal by reserve soldiers to guard the outpost inhabitants whom the military establishment considers land thieves and lawbreakers. They won't give up until the Knesset passes a law that will distribute in an egalitarian manner the results of successive Israeli governments' criminal ignorance of the Arab Peace Initiative.
 
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who chaired the committee on socioeconomic change, said two months ago that unless the Palestinian issue is addressed, there can be no meaningful change in the areas of health, education and housing. To the assessment of this senior economist we can add that unless the Palestinian issue is addressed, there can be no meaningful change in Israeli foreign relations and security.
 
The battle of the young Israelis who call themselves freierim, like the battle for social justice, shows that the public is not apathetic to the current, distorted social and economic policy. It is difficult to comprehend why these good men and women are willing to accept an ailing peace and security policy. Only an admitted sucker for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz believes in treating a summer cold before treating a cancer.
 
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