tv Sophie Co RT October 28, 2013 10:29am-11:01am EDT
breaking the silence has a collection of disturbing testimony of abuse looting and destruction by i.d.f. soldiers even when there is danger. and our guest today is that he cries dollar a member of the idea of veterans group breaking the silence hides great to have you with us on the program so basically breaking the silence is a community of i.d.f. whistleblowers right yeah yeah. i guess what we're trying to do. and publish stories testimonies. at events some kind of debate regarding the nature of the military control over the occupied territories but how many are new at this moment. until today actually more than nine hundred soldiers both men and women testified to breaking the silence
they were talking about. possible units. in the occupied territories. to the control of the tories we're talking about anywhere between. the way to i don't know. how anonymous or exposed is participation in breaking the silence. most of the soldiers to testify remain anonymous speaking out when it comes to their reality. as a soldier. something something that society in a sense sanctions i mean it's rarely see see the military definitely did. this somehow i don't want to say holy but they definitely love them and you can
understand it maybe even justify but for them even though it's the soldiers themselves who are speaking out against the reality not against other soldiers the fact that it might sound like criticism against the military is something the for a lot of israelis it's very hard to to receive and then and then again like i said the responses of family friends. for a lot of people immediately they see some kind of traitor. or snitch and that you're saying things that somehow should be you know is the saying goes you know that the laundry you need to do inside the house and not take it out but i think what about yourself personally i mean you're out in the open what has been the reaction of people around you you know your family your friends your neighbors what do they say to you. well i guess that's a sensitive point when we're talking about me personally when it comes to my friends for example if the people that they grew up with maybe even some of the people that served with me then my friends are actually quite open quite
a few of them for example came with me or one of my colleagues to see that their reality i mean we go to the occupied territories and that effected binion dramatically we're talking about a lot of people that didn't really know the reality before they heard it either from my own stories or from other soldiers when it comes to my family for example for my parents they have to say that it's still very hard for them i mean in a sense i think that my family is a very typical israeli family i mean they're not religious or anything like that i mean really typical in the israeli standards you know liberal left wing but they're still israeli still zionist israelis and for them hearing me speak you know saying supposedly bad things about them about my military service is something that is very hard for them. to contain it's seen many ways a part of their identity you know it's this society of soldiers in a sense how your website fell it was a counts of abuse center palestinian territories by israeli forces what has been
your personal experience what have you seen there actually two days after we reached active duty i served in the area of the city of hebron in the south of there an area of the west bank and the two days after i was that i reached this area in july two thousand and two there was an attack the settlers family was killed by a palestinian gunman and our unit was basically all build to close down the town from which the gunmen came from a town called the problem was that we were a very small unit maybe fifty soldiers in the town of home to maybe seventy or eighty thousand palestinians so imposing effective curfew in this town with fifty soldiers in. first place was basically impossible so what did we do we drove down we stopped in the center of town you know jumping out of the jeep for the first time starting to shoot in the air throwing stun grenades it tear gas canisters
closing down all the shops in more or less two streets in those two streets it was complete curfew we closed down all the shops nobody was allowed to go we were shooting in the air maybe basically trying to make sure that everybody knows that the i.d.f. is in town now wants to steal the children started coming i mean palestinian children started coming throwing stones at us that basically gave us the excuse to retaliate so we started shooting. which are basically pieces of metal covered at the children mostly rubber bullets tear gas canisters basically everything that we had now after some time one of our commanders came to us and told us that he saw a child then single one of the rooftops so we aimed his gun at the child the child wouldn't move so we shot him with a rubber bullet again i'm repeating it rubber bullets are only covered with rubber basically they're pieces of metal and then he saw the child drop on the floor and
then he got a bit nervous he said maybe i killed a child and then maybe i'll get in trouble with the military police but after a minute he saw the child getting up you know holding him stomach in pain and any you know he will he come down saying maybe i didn't kill him i only injured him so i'll be ok and he was ok and to be honest all of us found the story very amusing and that was the routine for a couple of weeks after a couple of weeks i don't know the general commander of the west bank stops in the center of town next to the commander of our unit they open the maps for maybe five seconds and that was it we go back to the jeeps go back to the military vehicles and drive back to the to the base we didn't arrest anybody we didn't catch anybody there wasn't even effective curfew we only closed down like two streets and we didn't really understand what we were doing there in the first place that can ask for words we realize. because we we kept on the theory. that afterwards we would go back and do the same type of missions to go inside the palestinian town just to
make our presence heard just to make our presence felt we were told that that is the mission to make sure that the palestinians as a whole not just the government everybody in town knows that the military is there and that they are terrified that's how they said it in the briefing to create a feeling of uncertainty among the palestinian population and i have to sell you to tell to tell you know that after interviewing nine hundred soldiers that was not the story of just my unit that's the story that characterizes the nature of the military activity in the occupied territories so that was the actual order that the military gave you and you're here and it took a palestinian citizens can you there are basically. it's called to show your presence it has various names high intensity but draw a holy day every unit has its own name the bottom line is the same bottom line and in the briefing pages you know when they brief you before the the missions they give you more or less the same order to create the feeling of uncertainty among the
palestinian population now one of the girls on the web site said she was hoping to bring a touch of humanity to her service but instead she turned into a monster is that so inevitable. i guess that is you know that's the thing you send nineteen year olds eighteen year olds to court to control millions of people through the barrel of the gun most of us untrained i have to say that for example i was training for eight months before i was sent to active duty for the first time out of this eight months seven months seven months and three weeks had nothing to do with what i was doing in my in my in the remaining of my service i was trained as an infantry soldier to fight another army and this is the case for most soldiers so you get there to the west bank or to you know around the gaza strip prepared to deal with civilians unprepared to control civilians the only thing that you are fed with is fear and hate and you know you are constantly told be careful of the
palestinians if you turn your back to them they will stab you in the back you're told when i got to the west bank i was told that we need to show the show that there is a new sheriff in town and i'm quoting here a new sheriff in town so that's how it looks like you know because the palestinians are not equal you're not the police officer you were a soldier who's controlling through his gun you know millions of people unfortunately that would be the outcome of that now your organization how long has it been around and have you seen any results because for the moment breaking the silence looks rather like a confession committee for soldiers willing to clear their conscience from the sense of their military past right it's not really like a political or social force yet. first of all we've been around since two thousand and four actually breaking the silence started as a photo exhibit of soldiers that were discharged and decided to somehow bring the reality of their service to the israeli public so they did an exhibit. in tel aviv
but during the exhibit people were coming to them saying we didn't serve in the same unit we didn't serve in the same region but we also have stories that we believe that the public needs to hear so actually for the past nine years that's our main project you know bringing those stories to the public now we guarding the effect that's a hard question because when it comes to any type of i guess social or political campaign i guess quantifying the extent of your success is a very hard thing to do you know you never know who you are affected in how you affected to say that breaking the silence would be disowned asian or body that would end the occupation probably not we are a part of a bigger thing a part of a bigger movement you know that it's trying to change the reality that has been on the ground for the past. more than forty five years now and but we believe that we do have a big contribution and that when it comes to making more and more people aware of something which is somehow left outside of the discussion and that what is actually
happening on the ground you know everybody's talking about the peace negotiations about i don't know about us in it and walking in suits you know they air conditioned rooms in camp david in geneva when you're in reality most people have no idea. about what's happening in. the you know the checkpoints in the west bank and we believe that that's definitely our contribution to the debate to the discussion and then when it comes to this we did succeed in somehow getting this i guess deeper in the discourse the whole time we're hearing now about well we'll be back soon to explore what it takes for both palestinians and israelis to lead side by side how should the israeli army change.
your language. we could know if you're going to. choose to use the consensus to. choose to be grateful to. choose the stories that impact the who choose to be accessed through. the media legal so we leave the media. part of the scene pushes you to the other your party there's a good. thing for shoes that no one is asking with to get that you deserve answers from seoul on politics. martin.
two years after the force ouster of gadhafi by nato forces in libya stands at the abyss the lack of a strong central government weak rule of law and the endless violence in the country awash with weapons has resulted in libya facing a failed state status add to this the presence of islamic militants can things get any worse in libya. more news today violence is once again flared up. these are the images her world has been seeing from the streets of canada. giant corporations around the day.
welcome back we're talking to our beehives dollar a member of the i.d.f. veteran square of breaking the silence which documents evidence of israeli army abuse against palestinians now i would have if you ask israeli person most of them will tell you that palestinians are terrorists now you've been there how many of the palestinians are terrorists. definitely different of the fringe. when we're talking about the gap between what israelis think and not just israelis unfortunately what they lot of people think when it comes to what's happening on the ground in the west bank and what is actually happening there is a huge gap most of the people when you're talking about the palestinians are obviously people like everybody else who are just trying to live a normal life in but they are themselves star gets of the military power at this and in a sense if i can point out to one of our guests most major publications that's our
book to you can by the way they find it now on amazon and anywhere else it's called our harsh logic we try to focus on the nature of the military and try and understand what is actually the mission of the soldiers on the ground and in many ways you know fighting terrorism is only a small portion of it obviously soldiers are trying to prevent attacks on israeli targets but in a sense what the military's main mission is is controlling the occupied territories and controlling the palestinian people most of the missions that are that soldiers are sent to under the pretext of terrorism prevention are in many ways targeting the civilians that have nothing to do with the with the actual attacks against israeli targets for example the fact that the military is practicing in at any given moment in palestinian towns on palestinian people you know doing false
arrests which is basically like like a normal arist that you actually drag somebody out of his house in the middle of the night only difference is that the person that you are arresting is not really wanted for anything this is just for practice for training the soldiers now obviously one of the reasons that it's being done is in order to actually train the soldiers which is problematic by itself but i would say that if you look at the whole of the testimonies over. hundreds of soldiers you will see that the main mission around this is to detail the palestinian society as a whole not just the gunmen men women and children everybody needs to be afraid of you because that creates affective control over the palestinian population today twenty years ago and unfortunately to continue if the reality continues you know ten years from now do you believe palestinians should be given the right to a state of course of course i think this is this is the only. i mean i can only expect and hope that palestinians would have the same rights like i do
now breaking the silence and even i personally i don't know what do you know the best spendable solution is you know one state to state three states i don't know what i do know is that the reality of military occupation a reality in which you know israelis controlled palestinians for decades you know through the barrel of the gun is immoral and not right and by the way is the term until four days really state. you know as a democracy now if the best solution or if the only solution is providing but it's the right to have i guess the same liberties as israelis to me. obviously that's what needs to be done you know so recently we're speaking to israel's deputy foreign minister and when we told him about you about breaking the silence on your stories what he told us in return was that it is rallies innocent israelis are
getting killed and kidnapped palestinians all the time and that also palestinians can freely answer israeli settlements in the west bank versus the settlers cannot go to palestinian villages because they can't get hurt how much truth is it in the statement. first of all this statement is ridiculous because the bottom line is that palestinians cannot enter settlements unless they work there and then their employer takes them i guess to the farm or anywhere else or to the construction site in which they work otherwise they cannot enter the settlement they cannot enter the state of israel and in some places they can't even get on the road which is being used by the settlers to move around there is a complete system of separation in which the military and i guess the state of israel is trying to separate. israelis from palestinians almost always on the expense of the palestinians to claim that palestinians can go freely into settlements is a ridiculous claim i vite. our viewers to visit the city of hebron
in which in order to create some kind of buffer zone area around the settlement in the heart of the biggest palestinian city in the west bank more than fifteen thousand palestinians were pushed out of their houses in the center of the palestinian city became a ghost town just to create some kind of empty buffer zone around the settlement so no palestinians cannot enter settlements now the fact that israelis got killed in the last ten or twenty years what we have seen much more palestinians got killed but it doesn't change the basic fact here that the reality of occupation existed ten years ago and twenty years ago in forty years ago and in this reality both sides suffer both israelis and palestinians if we want to have people not getting killed over this. debate over this conflict anymore we need to end the occupation that would be the best solution for both sides here should the west bank settlements be dismantled again i don't know your going into
specifics that i honestly don't know dani thing is that i know here is what it means to be an occupier if people decide that they want to have you know one state in which the settlements and palestinian villages and everything stays in one country it's up to the governments and leadership to decide what people need to understand that the that the ongoing reality in which you have half a million israelis living inside the west bank and the surrounding palestinian population around them is under military occupation is not enjoyable and immoral that's the only thing that i know but are there any settlers within your ranks in breaking the silence i mean yeah yeah even within the nine hundred soldiers that justified to breaking the silence you will also find the people who live in east of the green line they have their own maidens i mean some of them because for. well among the people that testified to breaking the silence you'll find very
interesting people some of them are coming i guess from the ideological understanding that exposing the reality of occupation is essential in taking the step forward to ending the conflict but some people are doing it for other reasons some of them are doing it for personal reasons for example they have bad conscience about their personal actions or about actions that they witnessed and then for them it's not even a political issue they're saying that it's a human issue and for them you know they just want to get it off their chest in a way for others it's about transparency they're saying i live in for example in a settlement maybe i'm not even a patient activist but i believe in transparency i don't see any problem with what what i did in my service and therefore i believe that it is completely ok that the public would know about this that's a part of this gap that i mentioned you know the disorders are doing everything that they're doing without even knowing that in a sense they're doing their dirty job for the israeli government that afterwards
you know if this makes it makes headlines in the israeli media and definitely in the international media the military spokesperson or government would deny the even existence of these actions and missions they will say no it never happened when the soldiers are on the ground and they are given the briefings nobody is telling them be be quiet about this you know don't tell anybody about this because this is illegal or immoral no they think that everything that they're doing is is essential for israeli security afterwards when it guts gets to the p.r. people of the government then it's a different story so with all this beer is here whistle blowing on how is it possible to actually counterbalance to already deep hurt and how sad. for the palestinians you can't just ignore years and years of humiliation right well. the thing is that most israelis the absorb i guess receive their information. from the mainstream media. unfortunately the mainstream media is not
interested in x. in exposing the systemic nature of what i'm talking about when for example the story about the i don't know the abuse over quite a steamy and makes it to the. makes it to these really mainstream media usually it will be framed as a rotten apple is an exception and then immediately the military will say you know the soldier who did it or disorders who did it would be court marshaled and you know in that we have the most moral army in the world and then you know we need to hear it and that is the framing they say well you know such a complex reality the fact that we still have an effective military police the fact that we're still trying you know to deal with those rotten apples with those fringes with those exceptions does not necessarily reflect on the system and think that is the gap we're breaking the silence comes in we're saying no no no no no first of all this abusive nature is mc and it's definitely not the rotten apples
because if these are the rotten apples then we're all rotten apples but the idea of strategy the way you describe it serving completely opposite goals and inside people to stand up against it and even take up arms and engaging in terror. i don't know again i'm not trying to. legitimize any type of violence not on the side of israeli soldiers not on the side of palestinian gunman i mean. the only thing that i do know is again we cannot expect. to have you know normal tangible. quiet peaceful democracy when we deny it from others i mean if if if this is the cause or this is not the cause of palestinian. violence again for me this is not even the issue i'm trying to explain israelis how
the reality of occupation is not only not about their security it's counterproductive for their security i mean if you were in command of the i.d.f. what would you do differently that's the thing this is not about making the army better this is not about repairing them the military that's the thing in a sense the reason why breaking the silence is coming with those stories to the public and not to the military a lot of people scrutinize us for saying you know you should take those stories to the military not to the public were saying we have no illusions in regards to this we don't think that you can educate a nineteen year old to be a moral occupier first of all because there is no such thing as a moral or and second because again if you look again to point again to our book or to our conclusions in regards to the nature of the military mission when the military mission is to control to control the palestinian people then obviously there is no way to correct it from within the system this is
a political decision this is a public decision in a democracy because in a democracy the public has the ability to decide what what would be the government and the military's mission innocence you know are we going to control to continue controlling the palestinian people or not this is not about you know being a general this question in a sense should be if i was i guess the prime minister. thank you so much for this and this was a high star of the i.d.f. veterans were breaking the silence that said for today's edition will see you and the next program survive.
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