Archive for the ‘Cast Lead’ Category

In an unsurprising piece of news today, Amnesty International – a group notorious for its pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel stance – blamed the Americans and the Europeans for ‘shielding’ Israel over its ‘war crimes’ during operation Cast Lead. Probably feeling it failed to pressure Israel into anything substantive with its one-sided views and reports bordering on propaganda, Amnesty shifts its view towards the ‘sponsors’:

In its report, Amnesty lauded a United Nations commissioned report released last year by South African justice Richard Goldstone for highlighting Israeli violations during the war in Gaza. Goldstone’s findings found both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes during the conflict.

"Israeli forces committed war crimes and other serious breaches of international law in the Gaza Strip during a 22-day military offensive codenamed Operation ‘Cast Lead’ that ended on 18 January (2009)," the rights group said.

(Haaretz)

AMNESTY ATTEMPTS TO portray its side of the battle as pragmatic, by pointing out Richard Goldstone’s ‘insistence’ on investigating both Israel and Hamas during his UN-approved visit to the area:

"In a display of counter political bias, the UN Human Rights Council, initially resolved to investigate only alleged Israeli violations," said the report. "To his credit, Judge Richard Goldstone, subsequently appointed to lead that investigation, insisted that the UN Fact-Finding Mission should examine alleged violations by both Israel and Hamas."

Amnesty, of course, fails to mention that Richard Goldstone investigated 38 specific IDF operations during Cast Lead and exactly 0 Hamas operations during same period.

However, Amnesty’s report goes much farther into speculation and defamation, by attacking Israel for – among others – assaulting Gazan medical personnel, specifically pointing out none of the medics were part of military units. However, as Elder of Ziyon blog points out, this is far from being true:

What I do know is that at least two thirds of the medical staff killed in Gaza were members of terrorist groups:

Azmi Abu Dallal. medic, was a member of the Nuseirat Battalion of the Al Qassam Brigades.

Ahmed Al-Khatib, nurse, was a field commander of the Popular Resistance Committees.

Mohammed Abu Hassir, medic, was a fighter for the Al Qassam Brigades.

PCHR lists a total of 15 medics, nurses and physicians killed in Cast Lead.  14 out of the 15 were members of Hamas’ military medical services. Ten of them were members of terrorist groups that NGOs pretend had nothing to do with Hamas.

(Elder of Ziyon)

Amnesty International goes further, claiming 4 out of 5 Gazan civilians depend on foreign humanitarian aid to survive:

"Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law," according to the human rights group.

(Ynet)

Before we go any further, I believe we should illustrate the horrible concentration camp that is Gaza – particularly the poverty and lack of food:

Starving Palestinians dying on streets of Gaza Starving Palestinians dying on streets of Gaza Starving Palestinians dying on streets of Gaza 

In addition, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, did a good job of rounding up some facts for the reader, underscoring the starvation in Gaza:

Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza. Millions of dollars worth of international food aid continually flows through the Israeli humanitarian apparatus, ensuring that there is no food shortage in Gaza.

In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March), 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred in 3,676 trucks to the Strip: 48,000 tons of food products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes and footwear; 553 tons of milk powder and baby food.

In 2009 alone, 10,544 patients and their companions left the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel. Moreover, there were 382 emergency evacuations from Gaza for medical purposes.

The Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem donates $3 million in aid annually to treat Palestinians in Israel. Following fears of a swine flu outbreak, three Israeli hospitals were assigned to treat cases in the Gaza Strip and 44,500 immunizations were transferred to the Strip.

According to the UN report of May 2010, 120 megawatts (over 70%) of the Strip’s electricity supply comes from the Israeli electric grid, while 17 MWs come from Egypt and 30 MWs are produced by the Gaza city power station. Since January 2010, there has been deterioration in the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas regime is unwilling to purchase the fuel to run the Gaza City power station.

(MFA)

While it is certain life in Gaza is not an apple pie, it certainly is far from what Palestinian Rights Groups claim it to be. Moreover, Amnesty International and the likes, fail to criticize Hamas government, which used its military power to seize control of Gaza and impose a religious Muslim regime on Gazans, including attacks on Gaza’s Christians. While Israel allows passage of goods into Gaza – albeit, in a somewhat limited fashion – PRGs never voice criticism over Ismail Haniyeh’s violent rule, him doing his part to silence vox populi.

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Goldstone in Gaza. Listening to one side, rather than the other? Here is an excerpt, published by the Jerusalem Post, of a speech by Avrom Krengel, Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, in which he addressed UN-appointed Richard Goldstone:

The UN Human Rights Council is notorious for its bias against Israel. Since its creation in 2006, the UNHRC has devoted 27 of its 33 censures to resolutions criticizing Israel but not one against Sri Lanka after it killed an estimated 20,000 civilians, or against Sudan for the Darfur atrocities.

The enabling resolution of the UNHRC, upon which your mission was established, stated that the designated purpose of your mission was “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression.”

Later on in your report, however, a different picture emerges. You state that the Gaza authorities said they had nothing to do with the Al-Kassam brigades or other armed groups, and also had “no information on the activities of the Palestinian armed groups, or about the storage of weapons in mosques and buildings.”

The report also noted that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups.

In respect of Israel, however, no such contextualization of its actions is provided. Nowhere do you feel it is of value “for contextual purposes” to mention that Hamas’s founding charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, or that the reason for Israel’s and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza, and the US and EU sanctions imposed on Hamas is a direct result of Hamas’s refusal to abandon its primary aim of destroying Israel. You fail to mention that Hamas is an implacable enemy of any two-state solution, that at the height of the Oslo Peace Accords, Hamas waged a merciless terror campaign against Israel, resulting in 150 Israeli civilian deaths, and killed over 500 Israeli civilians in suicide bombings between 2000 and 2009.

(The Jerusalem Post)

Go on, read the whole thing. It is worth it.

They want peace. Hamas' Qassam squad Following a meeting with South African Zionist Federation, formerly UN-appointed Judge Richard Goldstone – who headed UN’s investigative mission into IDF’s operation Cast Lead – defended his positions and views in a piece in Britain’s Guardian:

Without more, allow me to turn to the Gaza report that has caused so much anger in this and other Jewish communities. It is well known that initially I refused to become involved with what I considered to be a mandate that was unfair to Israel by concentrating only on war crimes alleged to have been committed by the Israel Defence Forces. When I was offered an even-handed mandate that included war crimes alleged to have been committed against Israel by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, my position changed.

I have spent much of my professional life in the cause of international criminal justice. It would have been hypocritical for me to continue to speak out against violations of international law and impunity for war crimes around the world but remain silent when it came to Israel simply because I am Jewish.

(The Guardian)

THE QUESTION IS, of course, not if Goldstone should have ignored Israel’s actions because he is Jewish, but rather if he was much harder on Israel because he is Jewish. Goldstone’s report indeed angered many Jews around the world, yet the Honorable Justice seem unable to comprehend the reason; I am willing to help.

Dear Sir, the reason for harsh criticism of you and your report is not your revelations regarding Israel’s actions, but rather your backpedalling in the face of Hamas propaganda, and your ignorance of the situation, its roots, its background and its consequences. Yes, your report noted that Hamas might also have violated human rights, yet, your mission investigated dozens of IDF operations, versus exactly zero (as in “0”) Hamas operations. How is it possible? Was your fact-finding mission so impotent as to have absolutely zero ability to investigate even a single armed push by Hamas gunmen? How about the video provided by the IDF, showing clear violations of human rights by Hamas terrorists? If your investigation was indeed as deep and objective as you claim it to be, how could Israelis come up with a 349-page-long report either pointing out gross inaccuracies in your findings or proving outright inability of your mission to unearth the truth?

Richard Goldstone’s disappointment is understandable. Yet, he should have seen it coming. One cannot investigate a conflict, basing conclusions solely on the local confrontation, with no background – as he did. One cannot uncover the truth without a full investigation and skeptical view of both sides, rather than just one.

The Israelis knew that, and thus refused cooperation with the team.

Goldstone did a poor job. Not because he is dishonest – he is not. Not because he is biased – he is, likely, not. Just because his work is unprofessional, lacking and outright poor. He should take notice.

Richard Goldstone. Playing hypocrisy? As UN-appointed Richard Goldstone was busy scrutinizing every Israeli step during operation Cast Lead, he was hiding secrets of his own. According to recent report from Israeli press, the Judge was an active participant in South Africa’s Apartheid regime, including sentencing 28 native Africans to death:

Justice Richard Goldstone, appointed to investigate the "war crimes" and the IDF’s alleged human rights violations committed by Israel, sentenced to death at least 28 black defendants appealing their convictions. Goldstone previously criticized countries that allow executions, but while serving as a judge in South Africa in the 80’s and 90, actually expressed support for this policy. In one of the verdicts, the judge wrote that "the scaffold is the only punishment that can deter murderers."

Furthermore, Goldstone also sentenced four black persons, convicted on violent crimes, to lashes, a punishment unseen in civilized world. Goldstone argues in response that he has always been against the death penalty, but during the apartheid he had to respect the laws of the state, and stated that he never discriminated against blacks, even though he had to implement, at times, immoral laws. "I was always committed to maintaining the equality and non-discrimination as well as the law," Goldstone said, "Sometimes those two principles collided in very complex ways."

(Channel 2 News)

THE REPORT HURTS Goldstone’s credibility, particularly among his critics. While seemingly a legit statement, adhering to “immoral” laws in his position was a choice. His job was to be a judge – he just as well could be a defense attorney. Same argument may be thrown, of course, at US judges, who sentence offenders to death. The issues are not similar, however, as during the Apartheid regime many native Africans were convicted without proper investigation or representation: only few blacks were lucky enough to be granted freedom.

By the way, here is another fellow, who only adhered to the law:

 

EichmannAdolfSS

It brings a great sorrow to see yet another person playing a double-standard game, while participating in one of greatest crimes against humanity. On the other hand, if Goldstone’s harsh attack against Israel was an attempt to atone for own deeds – it was a cheap one.

apartheid

FROM THE GET-GO, please allow me to make a statement – a sort of disclaimer, if you will. I believe in freedom of speech. I believe being an activist on behalf of the Palestinians is a good thing (unless taken to the extreme). I do believe that eventually the two peoples will live in peace (even though it would probably take a horrifying war for both to reach that conclusion). What I do not believe in, however, is hypocrisy.

Now, that is not to say I believe Israel is blameless. No doubt, Israeli politicians and generals could do far a better job – at both protecting their own people and the ones on the other side. Constructive criticism should be upheld at any opportunity – without it, we cannot move forward as establishing ourselves as a good society. That is, of course, when the criticism is constructive, based on facts and address the issues in context.

Perfect example would the IDF operation Cast Lead, during last December and January (2008-2009). The operation took significant toll on Palestinian civilian population. Demolished houses, killed civilians and destroyed infrastructure in no way makes lives of Palestinians better – and I believe it is mostly fair for pro-Palestine activists to address those issues. Their tactics are usually flawed however, as they misguide their readers and fellow activists by missing on the context. For example, it is true that Israel attacked Gaza on December 27, 2008. It is also true, that the attack did not come out of nothing.

On its website, Amnesty International publishes a report named: “Operation "Cast Lead": 22 days of death and destruction”. The short introduction to the document manages to falsely state Israel did not warn Hamas of the attack (while in fact, Israel issued warnings several times prior to the offensive), falsely make the impression that all of stated 1,400 Gazan victims were civilians, and demands “a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the conduct of all parties in the conflict”.

One would doubt Amnesty’s impartiality as it – as well as most Palestinian Rights Groups – looks at the micro, while ignoring the macro (later, Richard Goldstone and the UNHRC team followed suit). While the operation certainly should be investigated, why not launch an investigation into the entire process that led to the attacks? After all, the “stated aim was to end rocket attacks into Israel by armed groups affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian factions”, so why shouldn’t an investigation take the “stated aim” into account? Since when Jewish children suffering years of sleepless nights thanks are cast aside? Further doubt would be cast on Amnesty’s impartiality if one reads the actual report: while the document goes into great detail to investigate IDF’s actions (titles include: “Air strikes targeting people”, “Close-range Shootings”, “Attacking and obstructing medical workers”, “Ineffective warnings”, “Public buildings destroyed without justification”, et cetera), Amnesty went to no lengths to similarly investigate actions by Gazans (“Widening circle of fear”, “Armed groups’ rationale for rocket attacks”, “Israeli allegations about use of “human shields””).

One can certainly notice separate approaches taken by Amnesty – and other Palestinian Rights Groups – to the investigation. Such groups certainly do not represent the issue fairly – in the aforementioned report, for example, Gazans are given a full two pages (including an image) to explain their “rationale” for attacking Israelis. Sadly, Amnesty is far from being a single example of hypocritical attitude towards the conflict.

So I have a question to Palestinian Rights Groups, Palestinian Rights Activists, pro-Palestine activists, Human Rights Activists and the liberal crows: Where were you almost nine years ago, when first Qassam rockets started landing without Israel? Oh, right: you used the excuse that Israel was occupying Gaza, so it was okay. After all, Qassam rockets are “crude” and “seldom do much damage”, so it is okay to fire them at Israelis.

Then Israel left Gaza. Some argue that Israel did not fully withdraw, and I will agree. Israel left Gaza’s land, while keeping control of the skies and seas. The plan was to see if Hamas actually stops its genocidal rhetoric and starts building a prosperous society, instead of pledging to murder some more Jews. Well, we all know how that ended. Now imagine if Israel would completely leave Gaza, allowing steady flow of high-tech weapons from Iran and Syria. Would any of you, dear Peace Activists care if rockets would rain on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv? What would your actions be then? Which excuse would you come up then to justify the murderous intent of Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh? You do not keep all your doors unlocked in a bad neighborhood.

And then comes the blockade excuse. “Israel blockades Gaza”, so it is fair to fight Israel. This statement – constantly used by Hamas advocates – is for simple-minded people. Lest forget the primary reason for the blockade wasn’t even Hamas’ terror activity – it was the fact that Haniyeh’s henchmen started forcing opposition out of Gaza. Firefights between Hamas and Fatah took place daily for over a month. Mashaal’s minions rounded up Fatah men, executing them on the street, injuring women and children in the process. The situation actually got so bad, some Gazans started complaining they had better times under Israeli rule. Well, now that Hamas is in control, they won’t have their say anyway.

And then there is a matter of Egypt. While we could unquestionably understand Israel’s reason for blockading Gaza (they are just evil, children-murdering Jews), what is Egypt’s reasoning? Why is Egypt – an Arab, Muslim country – leaving their brothers behind, rarely opening crossing, letting in less humanitarian aid than Israel does? Is there anything Egyptians know that Amnesty doesn’t? Of course there is. The Egyptians know that Hamas is a terrorist organization, fueled by fundamentalist principles. Hamas uses great force to reach it’s goal (as we demonstrated in previous paragraph), no matter the cost.

So let us ask, now: where were you, Amnesty International, when thousands of rockets poured on Israeli towns and cities? Certainly, the rarity of fatalities in Israel is no thanks to you, but instead thanks to Israel building fortified bunkers every 100 yards (something Hamas builds only for its own fighters). Where are you, Human Rights Watch, when Hamas official pledges in its charter to murder Jews? Where were you, Twitter activists, when Palestinians shot their own people, fighting for power (fight that took lives of 98 civilians)? Where are you, human rights activists and liberals, when Hamas teaches its people murder, and incites them to “slaughter” Jews?

You, my dear activists, might want to disregard all of the above statements. In fact, you probably will. Certainly, you will lose sleep at night. But not over Jewish victims. Those are okay.

Criticizing Israel is not a negative thing (even though, unlike Palestinians, Israel has quite a few Palestinians’ Rights Groups of its own). But if you want the truth – you have to examine the both sides. There is no black and white in the Middle East.

“FREEDOM WATCHDOGS” USUALLY outdo each other in criticizing particular governments / countries / politicians they happen to dislike. The Human Rights Watch, for example, champions, well – human rights, choosing their targets carefully. HRW’s website contains 4,270 references to Afghanistan, 4,170 references to Iraq (with casualties in both countries going into several dozens of thousands), 3,110 mentions of Darfur (casualties going into hundreds of thousands) and whopping 6,920 remarks about Israel (Palestinian / Israeli civilian casualties, Sept. 2000 – Dec. 2008: nearly 5150 / 727). While Israel accounts for small percentage of deaths among aforementioned locations, it receives most attention from Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International joins the HRW, with numbers going 35,300, 35,300, 8,850 and 65,500 accordingly. I should mention that while I am not legitimizing Israel’s actions with these numbers, it does seem inappropriately unbalanced to me.

Just as with aforesaid organizations, many watchdogs simply throw numbers at their readers, no context provided. Case in point: Reporters Without Borders (a.k.a. Reporters Sans Frontières) “Press Freedom Index” for the year 2006 (the year of conflict between Israel and Lebanon) ranks Lebanon in 107th place, citing the following as reason of downfall:

Lebanon has fallen from 56th to 107th place in five years, as the country’s media continues to suffer from the region’s poisonous political atmosphere, with a series of bomb attacks in 2005 and Israeli military attacks this year. The Lebanese media – some of the freest and most experienced in the Arab world – desperately need peace and guarantees of security. The inability of the Palestinian Authority (134th) to maintain stability in its territories and the behaviour of Israel (135th) outside its borders seriously threaten freedom of expression in the Middle East.

Missing from RWB report: additional reasons for freedom of speech infringement in Lebanon (like terror groups controlling the news coverage). It is quite probable, that RWB considers constant Jew-hating propaganda on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar as freedom of speech as well. It’s not the terrorists that are to blame for restrictions of journalism, it’s not the inept Siniora government – blame it better on the Jews.

In 2009, RWB criticizes Israel for mistreating, injuring and killing journalists during operation Cast Lead:

Israel has begun to use the same methods internally as it does outside its own territory. Reporters Without Borders registered five arrests of journalists, some of them completely illegal, and three cases of imprisonment. The military censorship applied to all the media is also posing a threat to journalists.

As regards its extraterritorial actions, Israel was ranked 150th. The toll of the war was very heavy. Around 20 journalists in the Gaza Strip were injured by the Israeli military forces and three were killed while covering the offensive.

In the meanwhile, you might remember, that during the Gaza offensive, international journalists demanded “unfettered” access to Gaza Strip. Now, imagine what would happen, if in fact Israel did. Obviously, more reporters would die during firefights and air raids, with RWB and others this time accusing Israel of waging a war on journalists and free speech.

See the no-win-win situation? If Israel tries to save itself the trouble of having a numerous hotheads going in and getting their heads blown off – it is accused of freedom of speech infringement. If it would actually allow journalists in (as it did in West Bank), those would be killed in firefights (with some being shot by Israeli forces), spurring organizations such as aforementioned Reporters Sans Frontières to cry wolf.

What’s even worse, is that such groups never, ever, present context, evidence to the reader; neither do they investigate cases. For example, look at this case: Fadel Shana, 23, cameraman for Reuters in Gaza, allegedly killed by IDF Merkava tank shell from a distance. The video clip is quickly runs us through the basics of the incident; quickly enough, in fact, to get the viewer worked up at the evil Israelis, without giving him or her a chance to study the situation. But please allow me to do so, still.

First and foremost, Reuters claims Shana was killed soon after he started filming. While far from certain, it is unclear if tank crew had the optics to discern the object, mounted by Shana. Remember – quite a few guided anti-tank rockets are mounted on a tripod, thus it is unclear if tank crew could see that the object was actually a camera, rather than an RPG.

Reuters08 The report also states that Shana was traveling in a car clearly marked “TV”, which we could see in a video. What we also could see in the video, is that Shana obviously films from a high location, while the car is parked between two mounds. It is still unclear if the tank crew could the the parked vehicle at all.

Then come the victims. Let’s turn to another Reuters statement:

After medical examinations of Shana’s body, Reuters said that Israel had used a controversial type of tank shell which scatters metal darts, or flechettes, around the surrounding area after exploding, risking civilian casualties. Israel refused to comment on the report, but stated that the weapons were not illegal.

Reuters07 Hm… Now maybe I’m a skeptic (I am), but after three years Combat Engineering service, I’ve seen my share of explosions and aftermaths of such. For example, I could tell you that after an explosion, fragile Reuters04equipment, such pictured (neatly folded) tripod (right) would not survive. I also know, that after an explosion, you would surely see burns on bodies of victims. Yeah, those we can’t see either.

Another amazing thing, by the way, that in otherwise empty surroundings (you can see a lonely house in the video), so many Reuters05 people found themselves around the cameraman, including children. Pictured (right) is another image from the report, showing a child carried by paramedic, put on a hospital bed and rolled into ER. What did a child do together with the cameraman covering war?

Quite obviously, Reporters Without Borders become Reporters Without Balance. On many occasions I maintained: if you want to criticize Israel, it is fine. However, for anyone to listen to you, be fair and investigate your reports, don’t just throw them to public unsubstantiated. For example, phrases such as “completely illegal [arrests]” make your report look foolish and childish. If you want to be heard by anyone else but the radicals – you also have to back up your statements with some facts.

Haaretz's Amos Harel

JUST WHEN I reach conclusion regarding certain people, they do something like this: Amos Harel, the arch-hero of ‘Hearsaygate‘ is back at it again. But if before I believed the man is dishonest, now I think he is just clueless. Well, and a little dishonest. One thing I am still sure about: Amos Harel is not a professional journalist. Double-checking the facts presented is way out of his league, as well as basing his own opinions on facts and reasonable doubts. Amos Harel is an ideologist, and when you read his reports and opinion articles he should be treated as such.

Finally, case in point: Amos Harel, of Israeli daily Haaretz, released his recent op-ed, regarding Break the Silence‘s report, which we discussed here on Wednesday. To remind my readers: BtS is a left-wing Israeli organization, consisted mostly of IDF veterans, whose official goal it is to "expose moral corruption" within the IDF. BtS’ way of doing so is going through hundreds of testimonies in the past six months, and handpicking ones that suit their goals.

Harel sets his mission to defend the organization in his column. He believes it is ridiculous to question reliability of the witnesses (he notes some went as far as allege the witnesses are actors, reading from a script); it is ludicrous to demand the soldiers to reveal their identities. "It was enough," he says, "for these soldiers to hear from graduates of a pre-army prep course about the onslaught they faced after previous Cast Lead testimonies … to understand that their fears are not unfounded". Concluding: "It will be interesting to hear the full version of events once these soldiers are discharged" (Some of the interviewees were soldiers serving their 3-years-long regular duty).

Harel relieves the reader of trouble of remembering his own fiasco during the ‘Hearsaygate’ scandal, where he alleged most IDF soldiers during operation Cast Lead in Gaza vandalized property and murdered civilians in cold blood. When the whole thing was discovered to be a scam – two soldiers telling stories they never witnessed and never had the chance to, as they were never near Gaza at the time – Harel never apologized. To this day, he stands for his beliefs that IDF soldiers committed serious war crimes in Gaza, and does everything in his power – including omission of facts and distortions – to present his viewpoint.

With such goal in mind, Harel scolds at people demanding to see the faces of the testifying soldiers, or at least know where they served during the operation. The soldiers are afraid of "retribution" he says. And some of them should be! With regular troops it is understandable – they are not allowed to talk to press and could be punished for that. But what about reserve troops? After all, if they tell the truth, what is there to be afraid of? Unless, of course, there are some things they didn’t say, like them being in Sderot at the time of described events, with their testimony consisting of – once again – hearsay. After ‘Hearsaygate’ debacle several months ago, the public is much more demanding towards organizations releasing anonymous statements – and the public should act this way. Abomination, in which Harel participated, caused irreparable damage to Israel, and Israelis do not want to see that happen again.

The major point Harel makes is that IDF should listen to such testimonies, process and implement lessons learned from such events. What Harel fails to ask is why should IDF listen to a group, whose report makes investigating allegations impossible (you can’t investigate anonymous personnel), seeking attention from international press and donors. Immediately after report’s release, IDF officials expressed their dismay with the group publishing those accounts with the media first, instead of turning to IDF, asking for an investigation of the events. Harel could shill for the radicals all he wants – but people in position of power would not listen to him nor to people he promotes if they use tactics of hiding behind masks of anonymity. If the group wants the cases investigated, they should to transfer all evidence and testimonies to the Army prior to the release of the report, and wait for the results of investigations. They don’t have to wait forever – they could set an ultimatum of allowing, say, two months for investigations. But that is the correct way to go if you want to justice. Going to Haaretz first is the right way to go – if you seek to please your financiers and radical elements supporting you. In which case, the rest would never listen.

Cases of dubious or illegal behavior by the troops in Gaza should be investigated. But unless such testimonies are presented in fair and balanced way, Israeli public will stay oblivious of it. The belief in the IDF on the side of Israelis is strong – but it is not blind. Remember, most Israeli Jews served in the Israeli Defense Forces, many of them fought wars, and they actually know how IDF conducts itself. If Breaking the Silence – together with left-wing journalists – wants to break this belief and make people think – there is no better way to do so other than use of objective sources and presentation. With Harel, though, whose ideology hat covers his eyes, objectivity is not an option.

 

Update: Here are two great links for follow-up: «Breaking the Silence group cheating on global media», Unanswered Questions.