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You Are Here: Home » Israel Update » Israeli Activists Urge IDF Pilots to Refuse Orders to Attack Iran

Israeli Activists Urge IDF Pilots to Refuse Orders to Attack Iran

By Richard Silverstein
August 9, 2012

Israeli peace activists have created an online petition which calls for IAF pilots to refuse to participate in war against Iran.  Though the pilot corps is among the most élite of the entire army, there is a long tradition of resistance within the IDF to serving the Palestinian and Lebanese Occupations.  I’m including both the English and Farsi versions (thanks to Prof. Muhammad Sahimi for the translation) of the Call so that Iranians and English-speakers can read and disseminate it.  Though Iranians undoubtedly know that there are those who oppose an Israeli war against them, it never hurts to remind them–and the world, that there is dissent within Israel about this course.

Perhaps in preparation for such an eventuality, an Israeli (I presume) source has released a list of 100 Israeli air force officers.  All of them should think about having their names and images associated with not just an Israeli military disaster, but potential war crimes if radioactive material escapes from one of the stricken Iranian plants and harms civilian populations.  If you think this is unlikely, remember Fukushima.

A call upon Israeli Air Force pilots to refuse to bomb Iran

To: Air Force pilots
Israel Defense Forces


We issue this appeal to you out of a deep sense of concern and anxiety at the present situation in this country. We know a little bit through the media, and much more is happening behind the scenes, of which we may know only when it is too late. We do not know your names, your family status, your views or your opinions. We do know one thing — at this moment our fate, our very future, lies very much in your hands.

In the near future, possibly within weeks, you may get the fateful order — to man the planes and take off for the task of bombing Iran. You will have, of course, the choice of obeying the order, accepting the arguments and assertions of those who give it without questions, and striving to perform the task to your best professional ability. This would amount to accepting the argument that bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities is essential for the defense of the State of Israel, thereby also accepting that you will be firing the first shot in a war whose results might be catastrophic for all of us.

This, however, is not the only choice open to you. You also have the option of saying “No”. Certainly, this is not a simple option. It involves profound professional and moral dilemmas, and carries the risk of losing a career which is important to you and also the possibility of being prosecuted. Nevertheless, it is your duty to consider most carefully and seriously the possibility that by saying the little word “No”, you will be rendering an important and vital service to the State of Israel and all who live here. This service would be infinitely more important than blind obedience to this particular order.

We would like to reiterate a few points with which you are probably familiar already, but each one of which deserves consideration at the moment of decision:

— By all accounts, an Israeli attack, even one that has maximum success in achieving its objectives, would not result in more than a delay of a year or two in the Iranian nuclear program.

— Such an attack might strengthen the Iranian regime and force its most bitter opponents at home to close ranks behind it. Such an attack might also affect the unstable situation in the entire region in unpredictable ways, which could cause serious damage to Israel.

— An Israeli attack on Iran could result in an Iranian retaliatory attack on Israeli cities, a situation for which the Israeli home front is far from ready and through which it might sustain heavy losses.

— An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities might cause the dispersal of radioactive materials among civilian populations, and in that case Israel as a country, as well as those carrying out the bombing might be charged with war crimes.

— An Israeli attack on Iran and the war that would break out in its wake might lead to the blocking of the Straits of Hormuz, a major disruption of the global oil supply, a sharp rise in oil prices, and a severe aggravation of the global economic crisis. In that case, the public in Europe and the United States might lay the blame on Israel, with very serious and far-reaching consequences.

And finally: We know that when you go out on a mission, you are ready to accept all the personal risks involved in carrying it out. Still, you should take into account the possibility that in the unfortunate case of even one of you being captured, the State of Israel would face moral and political dilemmas dwarfing those involved in the case of Gilad Shalit.

To sum up, we regard a decision to launch an attack on Iran as a highly mistaken gamble, which would entail severe risks for the State of Israel and would not solve the basic problem. As already mentioned, even the best operational success would not stop the Iranian nuclear program but only delay it — and for this temporary delay all of us would have to pay an exorbitant price, possibly a terrible one. You, the Air Force pilots — more than anyone else — have in your hands the real power to avert this disaster.

No one can make the decision for you. We hope — for your sake as well as ours — that should the moment come, you will be able to make the right decision.

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© 2012 Veterans For Peace – Iran Working Group

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