We must make our voices heard sharply and clearly, so that every person who served in the occupied territories will know that speaking out is not merely an option — it is a moral duty. By Avner Gvaryahu Like many who served alongside me, I preferred to remain silent. I preferred to forget, not to speak about the Palestinian homes I broke into in the middle of the night, forgetting the violence I carried out at checkpoints and the passivity required of me when settlers freely broke the law. When I was released from the army, I preferred to repress those three years, to…Read More... | 7 Comments
I honestly believe you want the best for this country, but if you care about the Israeli society, there are other ways to make a difference. Joining the IDF only perpetuates the status quo — one that is bad for Israel and much worse for Palestinians. By Ido Liven Congratulations. You are 18 years old today. We don’t know each other but your birthday is especially important to me. Let me explain. When you were born, I joined the IDF. I shouldn’t have. [tmwinpost] Don’t get me wrong — it was a truly life changing experience. I met some of my best friends…Read More... | 31 Comments
Soldiers arrest a Palestinian man before shooting his brother in the knee with a rubber bullet. Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian volunteer with an Israeli human rights organization before shooting his brother in the knee with a rubber bullet earlier this month. [tmwinpost] The incident took place on February 10 in the West Bank village of Adameh near Nablus as Israeli soldiers guarding the settlement of Yitzhar and its illegal satellite outposts fired tear gas at local Palestinian youths who were reportedly taking a walk nearby. When Ahmad Ziyada, a Palestinian volunteer with Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem and a…Read More... | 16 Comments
The flip side of Israel’s need for heroes created in uniform, weapon in hand, is the urge to preserve the ideals associated with them and to shield them from criticism — the ramifications of which have become disturbingly clear in the case of Elor Azaria. “A nation without heroes is a house without doors.” So says the grotesque, dictatorial general in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Autumn of the Patriarch,” after affording equal posthumous honors to several army officers who die in quick succession, no matter whether they were killed in a tragic accident or as a result of their own depraved activities. [tmwinpost]…Read More... | 19 Comments
Under public pressure, Ben-Gurion University pulled a prize from Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli soldiers who talk publicly about what it means to serve in an occupying army. The group is ‘outside the consensus,’ the university’s president explained. But if occupation is the consensus, Breaking the Silence says it is proud to be on the outside. The following is a speech delivered by the organization’s executive director at an alternative prize ceremony. By Yuli Novak The soldiers who have broken their silence did not do so in a vacuum. The act of breaking one’s silence is not of clearing…Read More... | 14 Comments
Contrary to what some activists claim, Defense Minister Liberman's decision to forbid soldiers from volunteering with children of asylum seekers is a good one. By Dror Mizrachi Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman caused controversy this week when he acquiesced to requests by activists in south Tel Aviv and ordered the IDF chief of staff to stop soldiers from volunteering with asylum seeker children. The anger against Liberman was justified: volunteer work is a positive thing, especially when it is for the benefit of the weakest segments of society. But the question that needs to be asked is how, from the get go,…Read More... | 2 Comments
A Palestinian resident of Hebron is attacked for trying to protect a child from settler violence. It turns out his attackers were aided by an IDF soldier. By Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din Sometimes you run into stories that encapsulate the entirety of the injustice of the occupation. All too often those stories come from the Hebron region, where reality is even harsher than the rest of the West Bank. [tmwinpost] Ra’ed Jihad Yakoub Abu Armila owns a souvenir shop in Hebron and works as a photographer for Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem. Around the beginning of May 2016, he…Read More...
The IDF's decision not to charge Abed Fatah al-Sharif’s killer with murder should not surprise anybody — it is entirely consistent with the impunity Israeli security personnel have enjoyed for decades when it comes to killing Palestinians. The Israeli army’s Military Advocate General on Thursday announced that it will not seek murder charges against a soldier who was videotaped executing Abed Fatah al-Sharif, an incapacitated, wounded Palestinian man suspected of stabbing a soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron last week. (The soldier’s identity is widely known but cannot be published here due to a court-imposed gag order.)…Read More... | 1 Comment
Both the Israeli Right and Left need 'rotten apples' like the Hebron shooter in order to justify their Orwellian worldview. I waited and waited. Abed Fatah al-Sharif is his name. Not "the Palestinian" or "the terrorist." I waited and waited for one of Israel's major media outlets — not including tabloids such as Israel Hayom, Yedioth Ahronoth, or Walla! — but rather Haaretz and Channel 10 to open their items on last week's the Hebron shooting by including al-Sharif's name. I am still waiting for something that will likely not come. [tmwinpost] It is unsurprising that Israelis will curse and…Read More... | 85 Comments
Why does the the IDF indict soldiers far more often for property-related crimes, while closing cases in which soldiers are suspected of wounding or killing Palestinians? By Yossi Gurvitz, written for Yesh Din In 2014, a total of 15 Israeli soldiers were indicted for harming Palestinians, as can be seen by our latest data sheet regarding law enforcement on IDF soldiers in the territories. Eight of those indictment were the result of investigations that began in 2014; seven as a result of older investigations. Of all investigations opened last year, only 3.5 percent ended indictments. [tmwinpost] Israeli police, as is…Read More...
The organization of former Israeli soldiers is coming under attack from every direction these days — from the Israel’s president to the defense minister to the police. So what’s the deal? Breaking the Silence is a Jewish organization made up of former Israeli soldiers, most of whom served in combat roles. All they want to do is to tell Israeli society, which sent them to the occupied Palestinian territories, what they did there as soldiers. They do so through written and video testimonies collected form over 1,000 soldiers, all of which were approved by the IDF Censor before being published. That’s…Read More... | 28 Comments
Nobody really noticed the deliberate shelling of a Palestinian medical clinic, even when it was reported in real time during Israel's war in Gaza last summer. Now, because of reporting by an independent journalist, there is a chance that somebody will be held accountable for what a rights group says is a clear-cut war crime. How does an apparent war crime, recorded and reported in real time disappear from the public realm and the radar of military investigators for almost a year? The fog of war? Hiding in plain sight? It’s not quite clear. [tmwinpost] The story begins in the…Read More... | 6 Comments
Two themes are present in almost all of the 60-plus testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence from Israeli soldiers who fought in the last Gaza war: loose rules of engagement and systematic, wanton destruction. But can the new documentation serve as a catalyst for change inside Israel? Internationally? By Mairav Zonszein and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization of military veterans, released on Monday a collection of testimonies from nearly 70 soldiers and officers who participated in Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer. It has been 10 months since the 50-day assault, which killed…Read More... | 45 Comments
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