Reservists: Officers stopped us attending protest against war
Some 160 infantry reserve soldiers are accusing their commanders of preventing them from participating in a demonstration against the war in Lebanon, which they called a "debacle." The soldiers said they had been used as "sitting ducks."
"I've been in the army and reserves for 26 years and what happened this time was not merely a fiasco, it was a complete debacle. We felt like tin soldiers in a game of Olmert and Peretz's assistants and spin masters," said Avi, a soldier in the brigade.
At noon yesterday 160 brigade soldiers signed a request to take part in the demonstration that would call on the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. However, their release was put off until today, preventing them from reaching the protest.
They wanted to protest not only the army's moves in Lebanon but the decisions of their commanders, whom they accuse of sending them needlessly to their death.
"They sent us into a village they knew 15 Hezbollah fighters were holed up in at mid-day, we were like sitting ducks, it was total insanity. Two of our comrades were killed because of that. We are being used as though we were in the Chinese army, where it doesn't matter how many are killed," he said.
A few dozen demonstrators arrived at Rabin Square yesterday to take part in the protest that had been organized on Internet sites.
They called for Olmert's resignation and blasted halting the war before its goals were achieved.
Ariella Miller, one of the protest's initiators, said she was not acting on behalf of any political body. "We are family people who used the Internet to form a group. When we went to war they promised us to bring back the soldiers and restore Israel's deterrent force."