On AOL today........... Israeli Pilots Refuse to Strike at Palestinians A GROUP of air force pilots are refusing to carry out air strikes in Palestinian territories, the first such protest from pilots who are revered in Israel. The declaration was made by 27 pilots in the reserves who regularly carry out combat missions. Major General Dan Halutz, the air force commander, accused the pilots of playing politics. Israel frequently strikes at Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, describing the operations as "targeted killings." In recent months, Israel has used air force helicopters to hunt and attack political leaders of the militant Hamas, responsible for most of the suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis. But the pilots said: "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 added: "We are refusing to continue to attack innocent civilians." Israel's Channel 2 television reported that the pilots are also refusing to ferry ground troops for attacks in the Palestinian territories. Halutz also criticised the pilots for not venting their grievances through the proper chain of command. The pilots' protest comes after about 500 Israeli reserve soldiers have chosen prison over military service in the Palestinian territories during the last three years of Israeli-Palestinian violence, claiming that Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is illegal.