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Soldiers Urge Peace, Not New Settlements

Mon., March 9, 1998

More than 1,500 reserve army officers and soldiers urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to choose peace with the Palestinians over settlements in the West Bank.

“A government that prefers maintaining settlements … will arouse doubts in our hearts about the justice of our course,” the reservists said in an advertisement in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

Among the 1,554 signatories were a former chief of the general staff, eleven major-generals and more than 200 officers with the rank of lieutenant-colonel or higher.

The prime minister’s office said it had not received a copy of the letter and had no immediate response.

“The Palestinian areas are like a powder-keg,” said Naftali Raz, a former sergeant in the paratroops who helped organize the campaign.

“All the experts agree that if the government goes on expanding settlements another intefadeh (Palestinian uprising) will break out, but this time it will be with firearms, not stones. It will be war.”

Exactly 20 years ago, a smaller group of reservists submitted a letterurging then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin not to miss the chance for peace.


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