Andrey Pshenichnikov was arrested by Palestinian security forces at Israel’s request in Deheishe refugee camp, June 11, 2012. Photo by Moti Milrod
By Nir Hasson | Jun.18, 2012
Israel detains ex-IDF soldier accused of ties to Palestinian terror group
The former Israel Defense Forces soldier who soon after his discharge from the army moved to a refugee camp near Bethlehem in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, said in response to a Haaretz report on his decision that he supports Palestinian armed residence in every form.
“I support the armed Palestinian resistance and understand terror. Someone has told me that my views are considered extreme, but I don’t care,” said Andrey Pshenichnikov, the former soldier.
Pshenichnikov, 24, moved to Israel from the Soviet Union at the age of 11. After concluding the mandatory 36-month-service in the IDF, he signed up for an extra 18 months as a career soldier.
Pshenichnikov moved recently to the city of Bethlehem and lived in the Deheishe refugee camp, until he was arrested by Palestinian security forces at the request of Israel.
Pshenichnikov was detained for eight days, and upon his release he was charged with entering Palestinian territory, which is considered a closed military zone.
Following his release, Pshenichnikov had stated that he wishes to surrender his Israeli citizenship, and intends to do so in the next days. Since his story was published, Pshenichnikov said he received much support.
Politically speaking, Pshenichnikov defines his view as close to those of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Pshenichnikov refused to see how the armed resistance and the Palestinian terrorism as a problem: “In Israel’s terms, I support Palestinian terrorism,” he said.
“What Israel defines as terror is merely a tool,” Pshenichnikov told Haaretz,. “In the state the Palestinians are in, they will use the same tools as any other people in the same position. That’s why I support the Palestinian resistance, regardless of its form. No-one has the right to criticize the Palestinian struggle since we are speaking of occupied people.”
When asked if he distinguishes between violent attacks carried out against soldiers, settlers, or Israeli citizens residing within the 1967 lines, Pshenichnikov responded: “[In Israel] every citizen is a soldier at some point. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, there is no difference between the settlers of 1967 and the settlers of 1948.”
“We are not talking about a war between two countries with an organized army and laws of war. In a state of occupation it’s impossible to act within this moral framework. An occupier has no moral framework,” he said.
Pshenichnikov does not see Zionism as a fundamentally bad, he still views it as a colonial movement: “It is not a crime stemming from an absolute evil, but from imperial interests,” he said. “But it is a colonial movement just as any other colonial movement, as the Western colonial movements. It is based on the strong exploiting the weak.”
Despite his political believes, Pshenichnikov does not regret coming to Israel from the former Soviet Union. “The Zionist movement requires people to come and replace the local population, and it gives a lot in return, so I benefited of it,” he said, adding that he does not even regret serving in the IDF: “I was a part of the system; I didn’t have enough information or strength to find a way out, so it wasn’t my fault and I have nothing to regret.”