43 Israeli soldiers protest 'abuses' of Palestinians
Forty-three reservists and former members of an elite Israeli army intelligence unit condemned alleged "abuses" of Palestinians in the occupied territories, in an open letter published yesterday.
The letter, addressed to Israel's prime minister, armed forces chief and head of military intelligence and distributed to media, said information gathered by Unit 8200 was used by civilian intelligence agencies to coerce Palestinians uninvolved in militant activity.
The signatories of the letter said they would refuse to be party to such acts in future.
"There's no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence," an English language copy of the letter says.
"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."
"We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people," the 43 soldiers and officers wrote.
The signatories gave just their ranks and first names or first initials.
"Those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state's actions against Palestinians," the letter, seen by AFP said.
"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."
The letter, published less than three weeks after the Israeli military's fierce military offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, slammed the "collective punishment of inhabitants" of the coastal territory.