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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Israeli soldiers speak out on what happened in Gaza

On Friday, I posted about Breaking the Silence, the organization that has once again obtained anonymous 'confessions' filled with hearsay from IDF soldiers who allegedly served in Operation Cast Lead.

Now there's a group of IDF soldiers who will speak to you face-to-face on camera. No hiding behind blurred faces. And they will tell you what really went on in Gaza. There are fifteen of them, and three of them are native English speakers. I'm going to embed one of their stories below, and then you can go here to watch the rest.

Pinchas, age 29, is a Politcal Science student. He served in an elite IDF infantry unit and today performs almost 70 days of reserve service each year. During the operation against Hamas in Gaza, his unit was called to duty for additional service. Pinchas speaks about finding rocket launchers in a Palestinian ambulance and escorting a terrorist bomb-maker who then helped the soldiers discover explosives which were hidden under civilian facilities such as schools and clinics.

There are two brief videos from Pinchas.

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's the second one. Let's go to the videotape.

The soldiers are also willing to answer your questions. You can write to them at soldiersspeakout@gmail.com.

Haaretz has more:
The SoldiersSpeakOut group, which encourages soldiers to send in their filmed testimonies via the video sharing site Youtube, describes itself as "a grassroots movement that wants to show the voices of real Israelis."

The new movement is supported by the international Israel-advocacy group StandWithUs, which specializes in high-tech quick response projects in English to what is perceives as anti-Israel bias.

"Breaking the Silence are misleading in their name and their aim," remarks U.K.-born StandWithUs Israel Director Michael Dickson. "There is no silence to break. Israeli society is open, democratic and self critical. This one-sided and shoddy report fails to stress the context of the war as a battle against Hamas terrorists hiding behind civilians."

"All testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence are by combat soldiers whose names and full details are known and documented by the organization," said Ran Goldstein, a spokesperson for Breaking the Silence. "We do not reveal their details as per their request."

Goldstein said the organization encourages any soldier to come forth with their testimony, be it for Breaking the Silence or for Soldiers Speak Out. "But violent reactions to testimonies, such as we've seen from the army, are not acceptable," he added. [Now there's a straw man if I ever saw one. CiJ]

Dickson added that Breaking the Silence "omits names, ranks and facts" and the fact that the group receives funding from the EU and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv "merits investigation." Goldstein said is response that all donations to his nonprofit are "transparent and available for inspection."
Watch the testimonies and decide for yourselves.


At 6:12 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There a difference between unverified allegations and credible testimony. Despite months of exhaustive investigations, Israel's enemies have not found a single verified Israeli "war crime." That in itself says a lot about the morality of Operation Cast Lead and the IDF's wartime conduct.


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