militaries have the power to kill, but also the power not to kill. militaries have the power to influence politics. may more of them exercise such powers as these 27 individuals have.



Israeli pilots rebel against strikes

A group of Israeli air force pilots are refusing to carry out strikes against targets in the Palestinian territories.

The declaration by 27 pilots, some of whom regularly carry out combat missions, has been condemned by Israeli military leaders.

Israel frequently launches air strikes designed to kill Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Government describes the operations as "targeted killings", but Palestinians and human rights groups condemn them as assassinations - and note that innocent civilians are often killed as well.

In their statement, released on Wednesday, the pilots say: "We, veteran and active pilots... are opposed to carrying out the illegal and immoral attack orders of the sort that Israel carries out in the territories."

They add: "We are refusing to continue to attack innocent civilians."

The letter from the pilots to the Israel Air Force (IAF) commander was quoted in the Israeli media.

Israel's Channel 2 television reported that the pilots were also refusing to fly ground troops into the Palestinian territories to carry out attacks.

'Moral force'

The Israeli air force commander, Major General Dan Halutz, accused the pilots of playing politics.

"This is not an earthquake in the air force," he told Channel 10 television.

"We are a humanitarian and moral force and army of the highest order."

He also criticised the pilots for not airing their grievances through the proper chain of command.

"This afternoon was the first I have heard of this," he said.

Hundreds of Israeli reserve soldiers have chosen prison over military service in the Palestinian territories during the last three years of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/09/24 20:47:25 GMT

last updated: 09.24.2003