Israeli military refuser Noam Gur is touring Britain from 12-26 November. Solidarity spoke to her about her political activity.
Why did you get active in politics and what has been the personal impact on you?
When I was about 15 years old I started understanding what was really happening in Palestine and Israel, after years of being told scary stories and lies by the educational system, my family, and the Israeli society in general.
At that stage, I believed that something like “enlightened occupation” could actually exist – in other words, that I’d go to the army and serve anywhere I’m sent, but that I’d do that with pity, compassion and “a smile”, that I wouldn’t hurt anyone without cause, and I’d refuse to obey illegal orders, etc.
That stage passed pretty quickly, when I understood there was not really any such thing as an enlightened occupation, and that in order to stop the occupation and work for peace I had to decide not to operate in the Occupied Territories. That phase passed pretty quickly, too.
When I was about 16, I understood that the only right way to act was to refuse completely to take part in the military.
Israel, since it was established, is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, from the Nakba [the forced displacement of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48] until today. We see this in the last massacre in Gaza, we see this in the everyday life of Palestinians under occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, and we see this in Palestinians living inside Israel in how they’re being treated.
My parents, although not agreeing with my actions or beliefs, supported me personally. Since I’m coming from a small city without much awareness of the causes I’m talking about, I’ve lost most of my friends.
What do you see as the “solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict?
I believe that I, as the occupier, have no part in deciding that. Personally, I would love to see all barriers falling and Palestine turning into one peaceful country. In order for that to occur, I believe that the “two state solution” could get us closer.
What reaction do you get from Palestinian people and activists?
I have been going regularly to Palestine as part of the non-violent struggle in the West Bank. The Palestinians were welcoming and, of course, I only went to places where I was invited.
What other issues does the radical left in Israel campaign on, and how do these relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
The radical left is very much all about one struggle. We deal with demilitarisation, queer struggles, animal rights, etc. I believe that it’s all connected and, in order to promote justice, it’ll have to come from all aspects.