Israeli leaders on Monday condemned members of an elite military intelligence unit as “criminal” for signing a letter last week declaring their refusal to spy on Palestinians, local media reported.
Signatories to the letter, which was published on Thursday, said they took “moral” issue with the extent of military surveillance carried out on residents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The letter stated: “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.”
Unit 8200 – which does not require court approval to spy on Palestinians, but does for Israelis – collects personal information sometimes used to coerce Palestinian citizens into collaborating with the Israeli military or government, members said.
The intelligence gathered plays a key role in coordinating airstrikes against Palestinian targets, which often result in civilian deaths, and serves to prolong Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories, the signers added.
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