“If you’re not sure, kill”
“Better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy”
“In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy; no innocents”
“Anything still there is as good as dead”
We asked him: “I see someone walking in the street, do I shoot him?” He said yes. “Why do I shoot him?” “Because he isn’t supposed to be there. Nobody, no sane civilian who isn’t a terrorist, has any business being within 200 meters of a tank. And if he places himself in such a situation, he’s apparently up to something”
Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects anonymous testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada.” They recount experiences that deeply affected them, including abusing Palestinians, looting, destroying property, and other practices “excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases.”
They disagree in describing “the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military” to which its society and most Western observers turn a blind eye. Since 2004, “Breaking the Silence” collected over 650 testimonies, including from combat veterans. Most remain anonymous to avoid recriminations, but feel compelled to go public – to “demand accountability regarding Israel’s military actions in the Occupied Territories perpetrated by us in our name.”
Make a Tour
Breaking the Silence offers guided tours to Hebron and the South Hebron Hills, allowing an unmediated encounter with the reality of military occupation. The tour guides, all former combatants who served in these areas, share from their experiences to help illustrate the Israeli government’s policies enacted by the IDF.
On January 29, Israel’s ynetnews.com reported that “Female soldiers break their silence,” revealing accounts of “systematic humiliation of Palestinians, reckless and cruel violence, theft, killing of innocent people and cover-up.”
On July 15, 2009, Reuters reported that participating IDF soldiers in the recent Gaza conflict said “they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants.
“They kept repeating to us that this is war and in war opening fire is not restricted….There was a clear feeling, and this was repeated whenever others spoke to us, that no humanitarian consideration played any role in the army at present.”
The soldiers take these pictures to show they can do anything they want to Palestinians:
One picture shows a soldier pointing his assault rifle at the face of a blindfolded Palestinian detainee, AFP reported.
Other images show soldiers smiling and posing inside what appears to be Palestinian homes and in one picture a woman in a headscarf is cooking at a stove.
Yehuda Shaul, a founding member of Breaking the Silence, said the group has received dozens of similar pictures that point to a widespread phenomenon.
“It’s the norm in the Israeli military and it’s a direct consequence of being in a place where you control and rule civilians on a daily basis,” he said.
“You become corrupt, and you are not able any more to see them as human beings like you.”
Breaking the Silence Nominated for EU Peace Prize
Breaking the Silence documents testimony of soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza;
Right-wing group calls on parliament members not to let it win award.