|Israeli reservist nominated for Nobel Peace Prize|
Margot Dudkevitch, THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 29, 2004
Reserve captain David Sonnschein, the head of the Right to Refuse movement, has been nominated as a candidate for the 2004 Nobel Peace prize. Sonnschein, 28, is a software engineer. His name and that of the movement was proposed by two previous recipients of the prize.
The two are Carlos Felipe Zimenes Belo – a bishop from East Timor who received the prize in 1996 for leading his countrymen in a conflict with Indonesia – and Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu Tum who won the prize in 1992 for her work in pressing for rights for Indians and local farmers
On hearing of his nomination, Sonnschein said he viewed it as a victory for the lovers of Israel and a victory for Zionism, as well as recognition of the movement's struggle, which recognizes the need to defend Israel and at the same time protect human rights and values.
The movement was established in January 2002 when a group of more than 70 IDF soldiers and officers published a letter declaring their willingness to continue serving in the army inside Israel's borders, but refused to continue serving in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Currently, there are over 650 members in the movement, both officers and soldiers, some of who have served jail sentences for refusing to serve in the Palestinian territories.
In 2002, in a statement published in Yedioth Ahronoth, reservists wrote that they would "no longer fight beyond the Green Line for the purpose of occupying, deporting, destroying, blockading, killing, starving and humiliating an entire people."
Describing themselves as men "raised in the lap of Zionism," the petition signers wrote that while they would continue to defend Israel, they would no longer fight in the war for the welfare of the [Jewish] settlements." The soldiers wrote they had "rendered service throughout the occupied territories and received orders and instructions that had nothing to do with the security of the state, and whose sole purpose is the perpetuation of domination of the Palestinian people." This "mission of occupation and repression does not serve this purpose [the defense of Israel]," they said, "and we shall have no part of it."
The soldiers said they had "witnessed with [their] own eyes the bloody toll that the occupation takes on both sides of the divide" and understood "that the price of occupation is the loss of humanity in the IDF and the corruption of the whole Israeli society."