IDF 8200 epaulet. Image: Wikipedia.
Israeli public leaders, military leaders and rank-and-file troops are slamming a protest letter by 43 reservists in the IDF’s 8200 signal intelligence unit, who threatened on Friday to no longer serve, over claims of intrusive snooping policies against 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,” read a translated version of the letter, reportedly penned by 10 officers and 33 soldiers.
However, in response, at least 200 other soldiers in the unit wrote a counter letter in staunch support of the unit’s operational methods and goals, and dozens of others said they’d gladly replace the would-be deserters in the secretive unit, which is tasked with gathering electronic data pertaining to Israel’s security.
“We, former and current 8200 soldiers, wish to express complete disclaim of the letter which our fellow unit soldiers articulated, who chose to go down the insubordination path and declared that they will no longer be willing to serve in the unit,” according to a reply released over the weekend by the hundreds of former 8200 soldiers, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News.
One of the authors of the counter-letter, Capt. “H” said Saturday that “we read the letter of declaring insubordination and we were appalled. It is full of lies. We decided to expose the truth about how the unit actually works, and the extremely high moral and ethical standards applied there. It is important to show the public that this is not the face of the unit. They are sullying our unit’s name,” Israel Hayom reported.
Speaking at a cybersecurity conference at Tel Aviv University on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the protest letter and lauded the unit’s work.
“I would like to make it clear that refusal of any kind deserves the fullest condemnation. The political use that was recently made, including the voicing of baseless accusations, is unacceptable. The IDF, in all of its units, is the most moral army in the world. It carries out the missions that we assign to it in the best way possible in order to guard the security of the State of Israel,” the PM said.
“I would like to say, in this forum that, based on my many years of familiarity with Unit 8200, I know that the baseless accusations that have been made recently will not harm its very important work on behalf of the security of the State of Israel and I say to them – carry on,” Netanyahu said.
Laying out broad claims of “oppression,” and “persecution,” of Palestinians by the unit, who they allege gathered far more information than their roles require to safeguard Israel’s security, and used it to harass and “harm innocent people,” they conclude 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 …read more
Source:: The Algemeiner