Palestine Chronicle report, 23 May 2016
Breaking the Silence is an Israeli organization that publishes anonymous testimony from soldiers regarding the use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The organization appeared in court on Sunday to counter the state of Israel’s demand by its prosecutor that the group reveal its sources.
Breaking the Silence comprises of current and former [Israeli] soldiers who released an enlightening report last year on the 2014 Gaza war that included anonymous testimony suggesting that indiscriminate artillery fire contributed to large-scale destruction and a high number of civilian casualties in the area.
The organisation which is funded by foreign donors has been branded as traitors by many Israeli leaders.
Michael Sfard, a lawyer representing Breaking the Silence, told the judge on Sunday that the group would be destroyed if it broke promises and exposed soldiers who provided testimony, arguing that these testimonials work in the interests of the public by exposing ordinary Israelis to the actions of their forces in the field.
Israel’s state attorney is seeking a court order to force the group to reveal names of soldiers whose testimonies appear in the Gaza report.
The hearing on whether to compel the group to reveal its sources will continue in July.
The Breaking the Silence website contains dozens of videotaped interviews with soldiers remaining anonymous, in which, for example a young tank gunner describes how his commander told them to fire at random buildings during the Gaza war.
While Israeli officials denied that such acts were committed, Breaking the Silence activists say that all of their reports are reviewed by the military censor before release.
(WASHINGTON POST, PC)