May 15, 2015
Breaking the Silence, usually identified as an organization of Israeli veterans but foreign-funded, has released numerous reports in recent years. Its latest report, based on interviews with “over 60” soldiers, contains no dates or names. Having promised to reveal the secret of the civilian death toll in Gaza in the form of systematic Israeli misdeeds, and having selected, with that purpose in mind, the most incriminating segments from much longer interviews, the report fails to deliver. Perhaps that is why the activist-editors felt compelled to add a heated introduction announcing that their report “exposes” the true face of the Gaza operation.
In fact, the interviews themselves show the army taking numerous steps to avoid harm to civilians. The soldiers regularly mention warning leaflets, “roof-knocking” rockets, phone calls, warning shells, warning shots, lists of protected sites like UN facilities, and drones vetting targets for civilians before an airstrike. What is truly striking is that the soldiers simply take all of these steps for granted, as if they were obviously part of warfare, when in fact many are unique to Israeli military practice.
Nowhere in the entire report are there massacres or anything similar, or a single incident in which a civilian is shot in circumstances that could not be defended as either warranted or as a legitimate error on a battlefield where even a grandmother could have been (and, in 2006, was) a suicide bomber.
I am willing to guess that in many or most cases, these soldiers did not fully understand whom they were talking to, or what they were participating in. Were the Israeli army to adopt what Breaking the Silence appears to recommend – that is, to act with less force and expose soldiers to greater risk – Hamas would have an easier time fighting Israel and more Israelis would die. The writer was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press between 2006 and 2011. (Mosaic)
(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)