Israeli Military: Protesting Vets Face 'Sharp' Discipline

Spokesperson decries actions of Unit 8200 vets
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2014 7:40 AM CDT
Israeli Military: Protesting Vets Face 'Sharp' Discipline
An Israeli tank advances to a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014.The recent protest involves intelligence officers, not combat troops.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The 43 veterans of an elite Israeli intelligence unit who are refusing to serve, in protest of past treatment of Palestinians, are in hot water. They're being criticized by officials on both the right and the left, as well as hundreds of their colleagues, and the Israeli military yesterday threatened to discipline them, the New York Times reports. Israel's chief military spokesperson said top army officials are viewing the actions of the Unit 8200 vets with "utmost severity" and that discipline would be "sharp and clear," though he didn't specify whether the vets will face criminal prosecution. He accused the vets of "exploitation of military service to express a political stance," Haaretz reports.

He also said that just 10 of the 43 were "actively involved in intelligence gathering," the Times notes. Meanwhile, at least 200 other members of the secretive unit signed their own letter calling the actions of their 43 colleagues "political insubordination," and the Jerusalem Post reports that a former commander of the unit publicly criticized the protesters yesterday. Other critics of the 43 wondered why they took their complaints to the media instead of going through military channels, or why they didn't protest at the time by refusing orders. In a statement responding to the criticism, the protesters said that "some of us have tried to raise our concerns in front of our commanders ... but these concerns were ignored." (More Israel stories.)

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