From Philip Weiss and Annie Robbins of Mondoweiss comes the following upsetting story:
The Israeli veterans' organization Breaking the Silence released a shocking new report this morning on the abuse of Palestinian children in the occupied territories.
The report, in pdf format, is “Breaking the Silence: Children and Youth, Soldiers’ Testimonies 2005-2011. BTS also posted a series of video testimonies in which former Israeli soldiers describe the abuse of Palestinian children.
BTS is an extraordinary organization and website. In its own words:
“Breaking the Silence” is an organization of Israeli veterans who served during the Second Intifada, beginning in 2000. The organization aims to make public the everyday life routine as it exists in the Occupied Territories, a reality that remains voiceless in the media, and to serve as an alternative information conduit for the public at large about the goings-on in the State of Israel’s ‘backyard’. The organization was founded in 2004, and since then has received unique public and media standing, bearing the voice of soldiers who have previously kept silent. Since its inception, over 800 male and female soldiers have given testimony about their experiences in the military. They described the reality of military rule in the Occupied Territories for the past twelve years, as reflected by the soldiers’ point of view.
The main purpose of “Breaking the Silence” is to arouse public discussion of the moral price that Israeli society pays for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population and dominate it on a daily basis. Every testimony published by the organization undergoes careful research. This includes verification of the facts and crossing-checking them with other testimonies and archive materials of human rights organizations active on the ground. Our journalistic mode of operation requires the
identity of testifiers to remain confidential.
The most grotesque incidents in the report involve the oppression of entire villages and cities. Soldiers are so bored in Hebron that they provoke riots. They stop people’s movements entirely for hours on end till someone at last lashes out and then the soldiers retaliate and soon there is a full-fledged riot. The soldiers and commanders seem to regard this as a form of entertainment. Shocking.
In coming days I hope to reproduce some of the testimonies here, thanks to the permission of BTS.