An Open Letter to PM Netanyahu from the Parents of Tair Kaminer

The op-ed section of the weekend edition of Ha’aretz (April, 8) published the following open letter by Micah Kaminer and Sybil Goldfeiner to Israel’s Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,

Our daughter, Tair Kaminer, is in prison now for almost 90 days and you still haven’t called. Indeed, she is not charged with murder or manslaughter.  She is not in open detention [like the soldier in Hebron who killed a critically wounded Palestinian whose parents received a phone call from Netanyahu], but in jail. Why?

"We refuse the occupation." A demonstration in solidarity with Tair Kaminer, last Saturday, April 8, in front of Military Prison 6

“We refuse the occupation.” A demonstration in solidarity with Tair Kaminer, last Saturday, April 8, in front of Military Prison 6 (Photo: Noa Levy)

Because she sees what you still don’t see after 50 years of occupation. Of course, she is only 19, but she knows that she doesn’t want to be part of an army of military occupation against another people and that we are sliding down an immoral oral slope.

You must have read the words of Prof. Leibowitz and you know what he said about the occupation: Whosoever acquiesces with the occupation consents, knowingly or unknowingly, with murder.

There are voices warning that the occupation is destroying us; that the domination over another people will necessarily corrode our democracy. Indeed there are Palestinians who resist foreign occupation; they are not “nice” and employ violence and terror – but it’s impossible not to see the connection between these acts and our domination over them. To ignore this is blindness and a vulgar lie.

Our hearts are with the accused soldier, not because he is innocent, but because we believe that it is you who should be on trial; you and your government who believe that everything is just fine and the conflict can be “managed” and you can send 19 year old kids to rule over another people.

It is important to understand that it is your policies that create circumstances in which soldiers see the Palestinians as sub-human. And why should they be considered equals? They do not have rights like ours; they do not have a state like we do; they do not have a future like us; and many of them have given up all hope (Like us?). Declarations coming from the far right and even the center that a “terrorist will never survive an attack,” bear witness to moral degeneration resulting from the occupation and from oppressing another people.

Back to Tair: She understood that she does not want to “kill and have regrets”; she does not want to be a soldier in an army of occupation and find herself in Hebron under attack from a Palestinian who considers it his duty to resist the occupation.

Before the army, Tair did a year of voluntary work with the Scouts. Now she wants to be released to do civil national service, expressing her sense of social solidarity and responsibility.

You certainly support the exemption for religious women because they act in accordance with their faith and conscience, but for us on the left, we also have a conscience and so we are thrown in jail.

An Israel which refuses to recognize the conscience of its citizens is a state without a conscience. Refusal has unforeseen implications.  What will happen if 1,000 soldiers refuse to serve the occupation? Many challenge us about this and our answer is that this will mean civic pressure on the decision makers.

And what will happen if the new recruits refuse to serve in crack battalions because they are not allowed to kill Palestinians without restrictions? And what will happen when MK Lieberman demands to shoot the leftist traitors?

And so, we have a young woman with values thrown in jail and not permitted to serve her country.

Micah Kaminer and Sybil Goldfeiner

Related: Posts about the struggle of Tair Kaminar, conscientious objector to the occupation