Thursday, November 26, 2009

Israeli soldiers' testimony of what took place in Gaza in 2009

(picture from the website of Breaking the Silence)

As debate swirls around the attempt by Israel and its Western allies (including Australia) to discredit the Goldstone Report, a group of ex-Israeli soldiers provide direct testimony of what took place in Gaza in early 2009.

Shovrim Shtika (Breaking the Silence) is a group of ex- Israeli soldiers who collect testimonies from soldiers and expose recurrent acts of violence and abuse against Palestinian civilians that they witnessed. The group has collected soldiers' testimony about what they saw and did during the Israeli destruction of Gaza in early 2009. These can be read on the website of Breaking the Silence.

The information below is taken from their website:

Soldiers who serve in the Territories are witness to, and participate in military actions which change them immensely. Cases of abuse towards Palestinians, looting, and destruction of property have been the norm for years, but are still excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases. Our testimonies portray a different and grim picture of questionable orders in many areas regardind Palestinian civilians. These demonstrate the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military. While this reality which is known to Israeli soldiers and commanders exists in Israel's back yard, Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that which happens in its name. Discharged soldiers who return to civilian life discover the gap between the reality which they encountered in the Territories , and the silence which they encounter at home. In order to become a civilian again, soldiers are forced to ignore their past experiences. Breaking the Silence voices the experiences of those soldiers, in order to force Israeli society to address the reality which it created.

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