Reservists refuse to dismantle settlements

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JERUSALEM — Some 1,000 reserve soldiers have signed a document stating they will not obey orders to uproot settlements, reservist Col. Moshe Leshem, one of the heads of an organization fighting the Oslo Accord, said last week.

The document was sent to Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Leshem, of the Action Committee for the Abolition of the Autonomy Plan, said on Wednesday of last week that some 30 percent of the Israel Defense Force reservists who signed the document hold the rank of staff-sergeant or higher.

The signatures, which included each soldier's army ID number, address and telephone number, were compiled at tables set up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, he said.

The group will embark on a nationwide campaign to get people to sign the document. Leshem hopes to gather some 20,000 signatures. "The purpose," he said, "is to let the government know that it will not have the soldiers needed to uproot Jews."

The document reads: "Uprooting settlements and Jewish residents by the IDF is inhuman, anti-Zionist and runs contrary to my conscience as a person, citizen, and Jew. As such, I am honored to inform you that if you give me an order to do this, I will not carry it out. I am convinced that such an order is completely illegal."

One of those who signed was reservist Lt.-Col. David Shamir, of Moshav Gan Yoshiya, who described himself as a former Rabin supporter.

"The Oslo process is leading us in the opposite direction of all my Zionist beliefs. My belief is that where you plant a tree, where you clear a rock, that is your land. I oppose the Oslo process. I will not carry out such an order, and will try to influence those under me."

Leshem said that for "technical" reasons the petition was primarily circulated among reservists, and not regular recruits.

Reservist Col. Shlomo Baum, another member of the committee that is headed by Elyakim Ha'etzni, said the organization will soon open "recruitment centers" for a project called Israel Responsible One for Another. Its purpose, he said, is to recruit volunteers to resist the uprooting of settlements, or to man armed patrols on roads in the territories.

"We will oppose force with force, but not with weapons," Baum said."It is inconceivable that any government will use guns against Jews. If they come to pull us out by hand, we will fight by hand, and if they come with clubs, we will fight with clubs."