Israeli spy veterans refuse to “harm innocent Palestinians”
“We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people.”
34 Israeli intelligence veterans who served in Unit 8200 have written to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and military chiefs explaining why they refuse to serve and “harm innocent Palestinians” in the Occupied Territories.
In their letter, the rebels highlighted the “moral dilemmas” accompanying Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and the Israeli intelligence agencies’ “espionage and surveillance” of the Palestinian population.
“There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence,” said the letter. “Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself.”
It’s one of the biggest acts of conscientious objection in Israel in long time.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu
Chief of General Staff, Benny Gantz
Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi
Commander of Unit 8200
We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.
It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people. However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel’s military occupation over the territories. The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence.
While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection. There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence. Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself.
In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.
Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.
In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act. We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians. We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end. We believe that Israel’s future depends on it.
Senior Academic Officer Or
First Sergeant Ori
Sergeant First Class Amitai
First Sergeant Ariel
First Sergeant Guy
Sergeant First Class Galia
First Sergeant Doron
Professional Academic Officer H
First Sergeant T
First Sergeant Tal
Sergeant First Class Yair
First Sergeant Yoav
First Sergeant Yuval
Sergeant First Class Lior
First Sergeant Menahem
First Sergeant Nadav
First Sergeant Sa’ar
First Sergeant Eden
Professional Academic Officer Amir
First Sergeant Amit
Sergeant First Class Regev
First Sergeant Roi
First Sergeant Rotem
First Sergeant Shira
First Sergeant Schraga
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