Former Israeli bomber has left the armed forces and is now speaking against war, and the military industrial complex that employed him for many years. It is people like this who are the true heroes, people who have the courage to stand up against a gang that they are a part of, and speak from a position of experience.
Shapira’s activism began in 2003, when he co-signed a letter with other pilots pledging his support for peace. In a recent interview with The Electronic Intifada, Shapira spoke boldly about his time with the military, saying that he belonged to a terror organization.
Speaking with journalist Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Shapira revealed details of the Israeli government’s assassination policy, which put the lives of many innocent people in danger. Shapira said that “I realized something was rotten when the Israeli government started what was called the “assassination policy” in 2001-2003. Palestinian resistance failed to bring liberation and more extreme attitudes took place, such as suicide bombings and other [forms of] armed struggle. The government thought to assassinate everyone that has to do with armed resistance. Pilots would be sent with missiles to shoot the car of this person. In the beginning, this car could be driving outside of town where just the car was hit. Later they would allow shooting suspects when they are closer to the city. Eventually the assassination would be even if he’s in the middle of the market, or in his house at night with all of the family around.
His story continued:
“In July 2002, Salah Shehadeh, head of the armed branch of Hamas in Gaza, was bombed in the middle of the night with an F-16 dropping a one-ton bomb on his house where he was sleeping with his children and his wife. The bomb killed fifteen people, most of them children, and about 150 were injured. If I needed some answer for my questions and doubts, that was clear: this is a terror attack. And I’m part of a terror organization. The commander of the air force said that everything was done perfectly, and the pilots should sleep well at night. That was an additional thing that helped us: when someone says you can sleep well at night, maybe it’s time to wake up and start to think. For me and several friends, that was the moment we decided to do something.”
Then, on September 24, 2003, Shapira and 28 other pilots published what came to be known as “The Pilots Letter.”
In their letter, the pilots stated that:
“We, veteran and active pilots alike, who served and still serve the state of Israel for long weeks every year, are opposed to carrying out attack orders that are illegal and immoral of the type the state of Israel has been conducting in the territories. We, who were raised to love the state of Israel and contribute to the Zionist enterprise, refuse to take part in Air Force attacks on civilian population centers. We, for whom the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force are an inalienable part of ourselves, refuse to continue to harm innocent civilians. These actions are illegal and immoral, and are a direct result of the ongoing occupation which is corrupting all of Israeli society. Perpetuation of the occupation is fatally harming the security of the state of Israel and its moral strength.”
This type of resistance is occurring within regimes all over the planet. Just last month, we reported on the story of a US drone operator who also changed his ways and became and activist after he was forced to kill innocent people.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.