In the face of mounting International pressure, Israel continues to denounce allegations of human rights violations during its 22-Day War against Hamas in Gaza launched in December '08. A series of hard-hitting reports in the last month from independent International human rights organisations clearly reveal incidents of blatant disregard for the human rights of the Palestinian community in Gaza during 'Operation: Cast Lead'.
These three reports, carried out by The Red Cross, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch respectively, are believed to be precursors for a UN Report due in September headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.
Whilst they were all dismissed by IDF and Israeli government authorities as mere pandering to Palestinian sentiment, the latest report comes from within their own establishment in the form of 'Front Line' troops who actually served during the 22-Day pummeling of the Gaza Strip enclave.
The Organisation in question is known as "Shovrim Shtika" (Breaking the Silence), who have recently released a booklet (7/15/09), entitled 'Soldier's Testimonies From Operation Cast Lead Gaza 2009' which gives numerous substantiated testimonies by Israeli soldiers who actively participated in Operation; 'Cast Iron'. "Breaking the Silence" founded in 2004, is an organisation comprising of Israeli veteran soldiers who served in Palestine since the Second Intifada (Sept. 2000). Their principle objective is to offer the Israeli public and global media an alternate 'Front Line' view of the true realities of Israel's involvement in the Gaza Strip.
In producing this report, "Breaking the Silence" has strenuously attempted to portray the contents as more than just mere disgruntlement from within the military ranks and dispel IDF counter claims that their members represent nothing more than a few 'bad apples'. The highly revealing testimonies contained within, vividly expose the discrepancies between the official IDF press line to the world on military restraint during their combat operations and what actually transpired on the ground in Gaza during 'Operation Cast Lead'. In total, this 133-page report contains some 54 testimonies from 30 individual Israeli soldiers, who were actively on the ground during the '22-Day War'. These testimonies lend considerable weight to previous global media and Independent Organisation's allegations of 'unlawful' practices during the onslaught. In an overview of the report's findings, "Breaking the Silence" spokesman Mikhael Mankin said;
"The testimonies prove that the immoral way the war was carried out was due to the systems in place and not the individual soldier.....................What was proven yesterday is that through the IDF the exception becomes the norm, and this requires a deep and reflective discussion. This is an urgent call to Israel's society and leadership to take a sober look at the foolishness of our policies."
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