Dozens of Israeli reservists with an elite intelligence unit have refused to take part in spying activities on Palestinians, denouncing the military’s intrusive security policies in an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and armed forces chiefs.
Extracts from the letter were published by Ynet newspaper, signed by 43 reserve soldiers and officers of Israel’s largest signals intelligence gathering unit, known as Unit 8200 or Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim in Hebrew.
“We refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as a tool for deepening military rule in the occupied territories,” the servicemen wrote.
“The Palestinian population is subject to military rule, completely exposed to espionage and to being tracked by Israeli intelligence.”
The signatories said that, different to Israeli citizens who can be spied upon only with a court’s authorisation, Palestinians were subject to intrusive monitoring without oversight, “regardless if they are connected to violence or not.”
“Intelligence allows ongoing control over millions of people, thorough and intrusive monitoring and invasion into most aspects of life,” the letter read.
“All of this does not allow for normal living, fuels more violence and puts off any end to the conflict.”
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