08:02 , 06.08.07


Photo: Shalom Bar Tal Ariel Rubinstein Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
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Let's get acquainted with occupation

All Israelis should perform occupation duties, so we cannot say 'we didn't know'
Ariel Rubinstein

I fear the day when someone would sit me down in a comfortable armchair at the air- conditioned auditorium in Tel Aviv, serve me coffee and cream cake and put me through a series of tortures: First he would make me watch a selection of movies documenting the events in the territories over the past 40 years.


Next, he would force me to read out loud a series of articles published every day in the newspapers depicting the way the principles of justice and Jewish morals are implemented throughout Judea and Samaria. Finally, he would present in sound and video a selection of highly confidential files containing facts that had been concealed from my knowledge.


There are many people in this country who viewed the occupation in horror while serving in the territories during their standing or reserve army duties. For some, the occupation scraped their conscience. From those troops emerged the voice calling for refusal to serve in the Territories. Thanks to them, the majority of the population has internalized the idea that ruling over another people until the end of time does not garner respect and security for Israel.


Their experiences led to the recognition that the occupation is a strategic burden.


Ostensibly, military service in the Territories is expensive and wasteful. It's harmful for an army to perform policing duties. The reserve units should be training for the next war and not chasing stone-throwers in the Shuafat village.


Indeed, recently the committee headed by David Brodet recommended reforms in the defense budget whereby the call-up of reserve units for assignments in the Territories would be stopped completely.


The committee calculated and found that a single standing army regiment can do the work of 17 reserve regiments. The committee proposed that the regiment be comprised of soldiers with a "lower" military profile. Namely, it would suffice to have second-grade troops in the Occupation Corps and there's no point in wasting the brilliant minds of the IDF's elite combat units.


The Brodet committee is just another committee replete with economists trying to determine our way of life through the narrow prism of an introductory economics course.

If the committee's recommendations are implemented, the pristine occupation would distance itself even further from our hearts than it is at the moment.


Once again economists are blind

The Brodet Committee's financial rationale should in fact lead to a situation whereby the occupation will be policed by a professional army comprising veterans of the battles of Chechnya and the refugees of the South Lebanon Army (SLA.) The vision of economic efficiency would be realized, the state budget would be cut, our state of mind would improve - and our consciences would be even cleaner.


Once again the economists are blind to the pivotal point. Reserve soldiers must continue to serve in the Territories so that they can serve as the crack through which we can see the little we see now.


Despite it not being "economically viable," every citizen should be enlisted for one day every year to fulfill the functions of the occupation, each in accordance with his or her ability.


Let one stand at a checkpoint and let another be a clerk at the Interior Ministry in East Jerusalem. Those who can should assist in arresting wanted persons in the middle of the night in a village near Nablus. Those who are creative should build the separation fence.

Anyone could fire at those wretched people searching for metal in the rubble of evacuated Dugit in the Gaza Strip.


The youngsters from the Saturday-night brawls at the nightclubs should conduct stone-throwing battles with Palestinian children close to the roads. The soft-hearted should guard detainees during Shin Bet interrogations.


All occupation assignments should be visible to us all and we should experience them from up close. Let no one say he never saw the TV expos? on the Territories because he was glued to A Star is Born (the local version of American Idol.)


Let no one use the excuse he had not read the newspaper articles because he was transfixed on AB Yehoshua's books.


Let no one say he didn't see the repression in Jerusalem because he hasn't frequented East Jerusalem since laying tefillin at the Western Wall during his bar mitzvah.


When the day comes let no Israeli tell the Master of the Universe or his conscience: " I didn't know."