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Reservists from elite IDF intel unit refuse to serve over Palestinian 'persecution'
#1

Reservists from elite IDF intel unit refuse to serve over Palestinian 'persecution'

Forty-three signatories, including a major and two captains, in a letter to the prime minister: 'Intelligence is an integral part of Israel's military occupation over the territories.'

By Gili Cohen | Sep. 12, 2014 | 7:00 PM | [Image: comment.png] 17

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[Image: 3931337090.jpg] Israeli military's Unit 8200's base in central Israel. Photo by David Bachar



By Haaretz | Sep. 14, 2014 | 11:58 AM





Forty-three former members of Israel Defense Forces intelligence Unit 8200, including some officers, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top military officials, saying they would refuse to do reserve service because of Israel's `political persecution' of the Palestinians.
"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." the soldiers said in the letter, which was also addressed to IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate.
Among the signatories are a major and two captains in the reserves. Also signing were other intelligence personnel, who include officers and non-commissioned officers who served in the unit in professional capacities.
"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" they said in the letter. "However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel's military occupation over the territories."
The signatories claimed, among other things, that while surveillance of Israeli citizens is strictly limited, "the Palestinians are not afforded this protection."
The 43 unit members who signed the letter, some of whom serve in the reserves, say that the information that is gathered and stored in the army's systems "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."
For this reason, the signatories say, their consciences do not allow them to continue serving that system and depriving millions of human beings of their rights.
Daniel, a captain in the reserves who lives in Jerusalem and signed the letter, said that the process of getting signatures for the letter, which took about a year, started with a small group of people who knew each other from the unit.
"There were fears of how people, and friends from the unit, might respond if they knew that it was I and if they didn't know," Daniel says. But he adds that they felt a sense of responsibility and urgency, so they wrote the letter, Daniel told Haaretz on Thursday. According to the letter's organizers, most of the people who signed it are reservists, but some of them have adopted a kind of "gray-market dodge" and were not summoned to perform reserve duty.
"I don't feel comfortable in my conscience continuing to serve, and instead of dealing with the dilemmas and the ramifications, I chose to take a more evasive route," Daniel said, describing the "gray-market dodge" he has used for the past three years.
"Now, later on, we feel that evasion is wrong, and that we have to take responsibility. In the end, I served there for seven years. I believed in what we did there and for all those reasons, I must take responsibility for what I see as the perpetuation of the cycle of violence. We hope that people will think critically about these things."
An official of the IDF Spokesman's Office said that "Unit 8200 has worked since the day it was established to gather intelligence that allows the army and security agencies to perform their tasks, and each day it helps protect the citizens of the State of Israel.
"The unit uses varied methods and many fields while using methods and rules directed toward those who consume the information and for its own uses only. Those who serve in the unit are trained after a meticulous search process using training methods that have no parallel in the intelligence community in Israel or in the world. The content of their training places special emphasis upon the fields of ethics, morals and work procedures. These are put into practice during their service as soldiers and officers of the unit, and they are under the constant supervision of commanding officers of various ranks.
"The concrete claims made in the report are unknown in the Intelligence Directorate. The fact that the alleged signatories of this letter contacted the media before bringing their complaints to their commanding officers or relevant agencies in the army is surprising and raises doubts regarding the sincerity of their claims.
"Over the years, and particularly in recent years, the unit daily has received appreciation that often takes the form of citations, medals and national-security awards. As for the claims about harm done to innocent people, the process of gaining approval for targets in the army, which is long and meticulous, also takes the topic of uninvolved parties into account."
The spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority's security services, Adnan Damiri, said the reservists made a moral move, and that the Palestinians salute humanitarian ideas of this sort, which come to the aid of an oppressed people, Israel Radio reported.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#2
Magda Hassan Wrote:"The concrete claims made in the report are unknown in the Intelligence Directorate. The fact that the alleged signatories of this letter contacted the media before bringing their complaints to their commanding officers or relevant agencies in the army is surprising and raises doubts regarding the sincerity of their claims.

How does the Haaretz reporter get to that conclusion so easily? Normally, views are made up the chain of command in the military, as I understand it anyway, but when and if those views are ignored or trodden under foot, only then would the matter be made public. My point being here that the reporter needs to qualify how he reached his conclusion - showing that they have not tried to make their points in private previously - and not simply go straight to undermining the integrity of the letter and its signatories, because it looks to me that these are 43 very pissed off soldiers.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#3
David Guyatt Wrote:
Magda Hassan Wrote:"The concrete claims made in the report are unknown in the Intelligence Directorate. The fact that the alleged signatories of this letter contacted the media before bringing their complaints to their commanding officers or relevant agencies in the army is surprising and raises doubts regarding the sincerity of their claims.

How does the Haaretz reporter get to that conclusion so easily? Normally, views are made up the chain of command in the military, as I understand it anyway, but when and if those views are ignored or trodden under foot, only then would the matter be made public. My point being here that the reporter needs to qualify how he reached his conclusion - showing that they have not tried to make their points in private previously - and not simply go straight to undermining the integrity of the letter and its signatories, because it looks to me that these are 43 very pissed off soldiers.

Yes. It is quite an extraordinary thing for so many from this particular elite group to mutiny. I highly doubt they went straight to the media. Some of them themselves are high ranking in the chain of command. It is not going down at all well. I expect the signatories are incommunicado in prison and not available to clarify. Gideon Levy wrote an interesting article in Haaretz but it is pay walled and I can't read all of it but he refers to defectors from the Israeli Staasi. I'll post it if I can.

Quote: IDF spokesperson: Discipline of Unit 8200 refuseniks will be sharp and clear

Army spokesperson responds to letter of conscientious objection sent by 43 mid-rank soldiers and officers, says no room for refusal in IDF.

By Haaretz
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Sep. 14, 2014 | 11:58 AM [Image: 1357481735.jpg] Graduates of Unit 8200, the IDF's technological spearhead. Photo by Moti Milrod






The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson responded Sunday to the letter of conscientious objection signed by 43 mid-rank reservists from Israel's elite intelligence unit 8200.
IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz wrote on his Facebook page that the reservists' refusal to serve was viewed by the army with utmost severity and that "the disciplinary treatment would be sharp and clear."
The soldiers and commanders signatory to the letter have used the army to express a political stance, Almoz said, adding: "There is no place for refusal in the IDF. There are arguments and there are political stances. Celebration of democracy…. What happened here, in my eyes? Exploitation of military service to express a political stance."
The reservists' letter was addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Military Intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi., and was released to media sources on Thursday.
"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," the reservists wrote.
"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 signatories claimed that while surveillance of Israeli citizens was strictly limited, "the Palestinians are not afforded this protection."
They said the information that is collected in the military's computers "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."
According to the reservists, "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.
The soldiers noted that millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for more than 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," they wrote.
"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."
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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