Saturday, September 13, 2014

Israelis Of Conscience

I reproduce the following story without comment, except to state the obvious. It is a testament to the courage and integrity of those described therein, who will likely face all manner of vitriol at home for their principled decision:

Forty-three reservists from Israel's elite army intelligence unit have announced their refusal to serve, accusing the military of "abuses" against Palestinians, in a letter published on Friday.

The letter, circulated to Hebrew-language media and addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referred to the army's intelligence work in the occupied Palestinian territories, including targeted assassinations and intrusive surveillance of civilians.

The soldiers and officers from the elite unit, known as 8200, which works closely with Israel's security services, declared they no longer wanted to "continue to serve in this system, which harms the rights of millions of people" and refuse "to be tools to deepen the military regime in the occupied territories," according to daily Yediot Aharonot.

Soldiers in 8200, the army's largest unit, are responsible for collecting and intercepting telephone calls, texts, e-mails and faxes among various populations, the daily reported.

"We call all soldiers serving in the unit or who are going to serve, and all Israeli citizens to make their voices heard against these abuses and work to put a stop to it," the paper quoted the letter as saying.

In their letter, the reservists said that information their unit gathered was used against innocent Palestinians and created division within Palestinian society, including aiding in the recruitment of collaborators.

"Contrary to Israeli citizens or citizens of other countries," continued the letter, "there's no oversight on methods of intelligence or tracking and the use of intelligence information against the Palestinians, regardless if they are connected to violence or not."

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