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  • Playing with fire: IDF to use new weapon on West Bank protests

    A new type of sponge-tipped bullet introduced in East Jerusalem last summer has broken arms, fractured faces, destroyed eyesight and killed a teenager. Now a similar projectile is slated for use against Palestinians in the West Bank. Following the introduction last summer of a new type of sponge-tipped bullet into the Israel Police’s arsenal, the Israeli army is now set to begin using a similar projectile in order to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank, according to Ynet [Heb]. The new bullets will be phased in during the coming weeks as a pilot, following which they will be distributed among…

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  • Why is Matti Friedman so mad at Breaking the Silence?

    A former AP reporter who crusades against the international media's alleged anti-Israel bias takes aim at the Israeli NGO of veteran soldiers in an article that is long on ... well, length. But short on substance.  By Mairav Zonszein and Lisa Goldman Earlier this month, the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence released a report about the army’s 50-day incursion into Gaza last summer. Titled “This is How We Fought in Gaza 2014,” it is comprised of more than 60 oral testimonies collected from soldiers and officers. The overriding theme of the eyewitness accounts is that soldiers going into Gaza were…

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  • How I became involved with Breaking the Silence

    When I ran into an old classmate who suggested that I testify, I told him I had nothing to tell. He insisted, and only then I realized how wrong I was. By Avihai Stollar Back in 2008, I ran into Dotan, a former classmate from high school. We started chatting and he told me he was active in an organization called Breaking the Silence. He told me that its members are former soldiers who had served in the Occupied Territories and now strive to expose the Israeli public to the day-to-day reality of the occupation. To this end, he said,…

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  • Chronicle of a tragedy foretold in Gaza

    If there's one takeaway from the newly published Breaking the Silence report, it's that the IDF is most certainly not the most moral army in the world. By Ido Even Paz Breaking the Silence member Idan Barir published an article during last summer's Gaza war, in which he warned against the firing of artillery into densely populated areas such as the Gaza Strip. The use of a ‘’statistical’’ weapon, he wrote, would bring about disastrous consequences, due to its inherent imprecision. [tmwinpost] Now, nearly a year after the last shell of Operation Protective Edge fell silent, it has become clearly…

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  • How not to be sexually harassed in the IDF

    May Fatal is a young soldier who was sexually harassed and perhaps stalked by her superior in the army. That’s nothing new. Sexual harassment in the IDF has been a dirty, loosely kept secret for decades, known to most women and plenty of men in Israel. Few women ever go public with their experience, and even fewer do so with their own identity. [tmwinpost] Last year, Fatal submitted a complaint against her commander Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi, a battalion commander in the Givati combat brigade, within the army system. The case made the press but she remained anonymous. In December, military prosecutors reached a plea bargain…

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  • Testimonies: 'This is How We Fought in Gaza'

    Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli combat veterans who want to expose the Israeli public to the realities of the occupation, publishes a report compiling over 60 testimonies of soldiers and officers who served in 2014's Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge. The testimonies in this collection close the yawning gaps between what the IDF and government spokespersons told the public about the combat that took place in Gaza, and the reality described by the soldiers who took part in the operation. The testimonies reveal the guiding military principle of “minimum risk to our forces, even at the cost of…

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  • Gunning for destruction in Gaza: ‘You want to see people in pieces’

    36,000 artillery shells, tank shells, mortars, anti-tank missiles and munitions, alongside an ubiquitous use of armored bulldozers, razed streets and districts to the ground during last summer's Gaza war. According to a newly published Breaking the Silence report, this is exactly what the Israeli army wanted. In On Photography, the essayist Susan Sontag reflects on how our reliance on the photographic image has inverted our concept of reality. So accustomed have we become to recorded images showing us things we otherwise would not witness, that what cameras show us defines the boundaries of our reality. Therefore, Sontag argues, if and…

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  • Israeli army encloses 7,000 Palestinians in West Bank village

    IDF openly tells the 7,000 residents of Hizma that they are being collectively punished for the stone-throwing of a few Palestinians. The Israeli army and Border Police closed off both entrances to the Palestinian village of Hizma in the West Bank on Monday afternoon, in response to what the military claimed were incidents of stone-throwing in the area. Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem reported that Hizma's 7,000 residents were also prevented from leaving the village. A sign in Arabic was posted next to one of the barriers, reading: "To residents of the area: Several of you are responsible for carrying…

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  • WATCH: Soldiers taunt, set dogs on Palestinian teen

    Israeli army decries video showing soldiers taunting and setting dogs on Palestinian, despite it being IDF policy. A leaked video showing a 16-year old Palestinian being attacked by two canines, while being held by two IDF soldiers, was posted on Facebook on Monday by former Knesset member and far-rightist Michael Ben-Ari (who later removed it). It quickly spread around the web and made headlines in Israel. WARNING: Footage may be disturbing to some The incident itself took place last December 23 in between the Karmei Tzur settlement and Beit Ummar, a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank. The video…

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  • Is an anti-occupation revolt brewing in the British Jewish establishment?

    Leader in top communal organization announces he is leaving post to speak out freely against Israeli policies -- and gets standing ovation from membership. For many years I have felt that the only way to end the occupation is through outside pressure because Israel is just scorched earth politically, and will never do it on its own. On that basis, the announcement last week by a prominent figure in the British Jewish establishment, and the reaction to it by his colleagues, was a more hopeful sign than anything that’s happened in the current Israeli campaign or is about to happen…

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  • IDF suspends plan to minimize nighttime arrests of children

    Despite concerns raised by the international community, the army suspends a pilot program meant to lessen the number of Palestinian children arrested in night raids. By Gerard Horton A pilot program by the Israeli army in order to lessen the number of Palestinian children arrested in nighttime raids has been suspended, according to Israel’s chief military prosecutor. The program was announced by Israel’s military authorities in February 2014, and called for issuing written summonses instead of arresting children during night raids in the West Bank. The announcement followed concerns raised in the UK, The Netherlands and Australia about the devastating impact of repeated…

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  • Israeli air strike in Syria: Lies, aggression — at what cost?

    From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression. During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine…

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  • [WATCH] The Druze in Israel: Resisting conscription (part 4)

    According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The fourth part of this series looks at a new movement of young Druze women and men who challenging both the state and their predecessors by refusing to join the army. Watch parts one ('A history lesson'), two ('Land expropriation') and three ('Appropriating identity') of this series. Related: Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad released from military service Activists show solidarity with latest…

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