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Daily Israel Report

Giving Up Rank in the IDF Over Disengagement

An officer in the IDF's information technology branch has refused a promotion in rank due to his opposition to the Disengagement Plan, which he called "the crime of ethnic cleansing."
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 10/19/2005, 5:24 PM / Last Update: 10/19/2005, 7:34 PM

In a letter addressed to Major General Ehud Shani, head of the C4I Branch and a member of the General Staff, Dr. Yair Weisman, a reserve officer in a C4I communications battalion, wrote, "I feel ashamed that the corps that I serve in participated in this crime. Please revoke my promotion in rank."

Dr. Weisman opened his letter to Maj.Gen. Shani with a description of the North Vietnamese conquest and expulsion of the population of Saigon, in South Vietnam, in 1975. That expulsion, Weisman wrote, "is considered until today as one of the most shameful war crimes in human history."

The letter continues:

"I find it hard to distinguish between the war crime carried out in Vietnam in 1975 and the crime of ethnic cleansing carried out by the IDF in the summer of 2005. In both cases there was an order from the legally constituted government, and in both cases, the expellers and the expellees were from the same people. Even the arguments put forth by the IDF are incredibly similar. 'The IDF does not choose its missions' is a variation on the argument made by the North Vietnamese soldiers involved in that crime. A moral person, on the other hand, is not a robot and understands that there are limits to any order."

...

"I was not in reserve duty during the Disengagement period, but just as I would not be interested in medals, ranks or decorations of the North Vietnamese army, I am not interested in the rank that the IDF wants to award me," Dr. Weisman wrote.