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Leo Baeck Education Center. Louiz Green - Professional Photographer. Hillel at Washington University in St. Journalist Amos Harel wrote "while there is no definite way of vouching for the credibility of their reports, it is safe to say that [the testifiers] did fight in Gaza and that they provided enough authentic detail to prove that they are not imposters. The organization has a clear agenda: But this does not mean that the documented evidence, some of which was videotaped, is fabricated.

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In January , Breaking the Silence published a booklet titled Women Soldiers' Testimonies that contained 96 anonymous accounts from more than 40 women officers, commanders and soldiers in various units who had served as combatants and in supporting combat roles in the Israeli-occupied territories since In response, an IDF representative said, "These are anonymous testimonies, without any mention of a time or a place, and their reliability cannot be examined in any way. The IDF is a controlled state organization, which learns and draws lessons, and cooperates with any serious body with the shared goal of exhausting any inquiry when such an examination is inquired.

Occupation of the Territories: Israeli Soldier Testimonies — , published in , [48] contains first-hand accounts by more than Israeli soldiers. Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, — Elliott Abrams , former U. Assistant Secretary of State and senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations , wrote that the report contained many accounts of experiences during the Second Intifada.

He wrote that the Israel Defense Forces were trying to stop numerous terrorist acts and suicide bombings that were "maiming and killing thousands" of Israeli civilians and criticized the book for failing to describe those dangers.

Breaking the Silence – Public talk by Yehuda Shaul

This is How We Fought in Gaza: Soldiers' testimonies and photographs from Operation 'Protective Edge' - is a collection of soldiers' testimonies and photographs related to Operation Protective Edge conducted in Gaza. In December , journalist Haggai Matar summarized complaints by government sources and groups opposed to the activities of Breaking the Silence:. The Israeli political establishment has been hostile to the activities of the organization since it was founded in But in , at a government-sponsored training program, other veterans not connected to BtS also spoke out about abuses by the military in the Occupied Territories.

Three said that civilians were shot and killed. When this material was reported, a furor arose in Israel, and the controversy was covered internationally. Previously the Israeli government had dismissed as propaganda Palestinian assertions that Israeli forces had used indiscriminate and disproportionate firepower in civilian areas during the ground assault.

But IDF veterans' accounts at this post-operation discussion confirmed at least some of those allegations.

Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika)

The IDF quickly conducted an inquiry into these accounts. Its investigation found no corroborating evidence for such charges and it closed the inquiry. Later that year BtS published its own report on the Gaza operation, a compilation of some 70 veterans' accounts. Representatives of the Israeli military criticised BtS for publishing anonymous accounts, saying that it made it impossible to investigate reported abusive incidents.

Following the BtS report, the Israeli government protested to other governments.


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It said that the NGO had "a clear anti-government agenda" and complained to diplomatic personnel of the UK, Netherlands, and Spain to try to dissuade them from continuing their financial support of BtS. We are not a third world country. In response, ten Israeli-based human rights organizations published a petition "Do not silence 'Breaking the Silence" against what they described as the "aggressive repression of the organization by the Foreign Ministry of Israel and other governmental agents;" they opposed the government's attempt to interfere with the group's funding.

Leading politicians of Likud have continued to express hostility to the NGO and other left-wing activist organizations that oppose the settlements and Israel occupation. His Education Minister Naftali Bennett issued guidelines directing schools to refrain from having representatives speak who were critical of the IDF. As some principals did not observe the Education Minister's guidelines, in December Education Minister Bennett proposed a bill to Knesset to "ban all groups 'that work to damage the IDF' from entering any academic institutions.

In response, some of Israel's top brass have come to the defense of the organization. In , the Attorney General filed a petition to force BtS to reveal the identity of a soldier whose testimony raised suspicion of possible war crimes related to Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in Previous court challenges by the IDF have resulted in the court upholding BtS's protection of the confidentiality of its sources.

In April , Prime Minister Netanyahu cancelled a meeting with Germany's foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel , after the statesman had met with the Breaking the Silence group during his visit to Israel. Germany has in other ways supported Israel at a time of increasing criticism from Europe of its settlements in the Occupied Territories and treatment of civilians there.

The investigation was ordered because of a speech in which Issacharoff said that, as an officer in the Nahal Brigade , he had beaten an unarmed Palestinian protester in Hebron. A month later, Reservists on Duty released a video in which some former members of Issacharoff's platoon said the incident did not take place and said he had lied.

Following this, a former member of Issacharoff's military company came forward and said he had witnessed the beating. Issacharoff termed the investigation a "farce. This raises the suspicion that this was a political maneuver and not based off of relevant considerations. In September , in the wake of a Breaking the Silence report that alleged IDF abuse of Palestinian children, Danny Lamm, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, expressed his concern that the Israel Defense Forces were unable to investigate claims because they were presented as "anonymous Yehuda Shaul of BtS responded that "over 70 of our testifiers have come out publicly with their names and identities revealed, and I'm one of them.

If the IDF was interested in investigating our claims, we probably would have already been summoned to interrogations. In , a BtS spokesman had written that the NGO verified its information by cross-referencing the testimonies it collected, and that BtS would provide additional information to "any official and independent investigation", including the personal identity of the soldiers, so long as the names were kept confidential. Over the years, Breaking the Silence has sometimes been accused by groups affiliated with the Right, such as Im Tirtzu , of fabricating soldiers' testimonies.

This issue was brought up again during December debate over a proposed Knesset bill to ban groups from state schools that "work to damage" the IDF. In July , the investigative television program HaMakor reported that, of a sample of ten of BtS published testimonies, it confirmed two as factual, it believed two were exaggerated, and two were false. It could neither verify nor refute four. Raviv Drucker , a supporter of the NGO, said in the HaMakor program that the group's members "act a little bit like a sensational magazine" that does not check the facts thoroughly or writes an exaggerated headline, while claiming to hold higher standards.

He said that "many of the stories they published turned out to be true", and that they are holding on to "very sexy testimonies" and not publishing them because they have not yet been able to "fully verify them. In , Martin Indyk , former U. Ambassador to Israel, said that Breaking the Silence was trying to "sensitize" Israelis to the effect of the occupation. We would like to ask you to register here. Dismiss Find out more.

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