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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/12/10

Breaking the Silence: Women Soldiers Speak Out

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"Breaking the Silence:" Women Soldiers Speak Out - by Stephen Lendman


"Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects anonymous testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada." They recount experiences that deeply affected them, including abusing Palestinians, looting, destroying property, and other practices "excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases."


They disagree in describing "the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military" to which its society and most Western observers turn a blind eye. Since 2004, "Breaking the Silence" collected over 650 testimonies, including from combat veterans. Most remain anonymous to avoid recriminations, but feel compelled to go public - to "demand accountability regarding Israel's military actions in the Occupied Territories perpetrated by us in our name."


Last year, a collection of 54 damning testimonies from 30 Israeli soldiers was published. On January 31, a new publication was released titled, "Breaking the Silence: Women Soldiers' Testimonies," a collection of 96 stories from dozens of women who served in the Territories since 2000.


On January 29, Israel's ynetnews.com reported that "Female soldiers break their silence," revealing accounts of "systematic humiliation of Palestinians, reckless and cruel violence, theft, killing of innocent people and cover-up."


On July 15, 2009, Reuters reported that participating IDF soldiers in the recent Gaza conflict said "they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants. Accordingly, they (said, they) went into Gaza with guns blazing," with comments like the following typical of others:


-- "If you're not sure, kill;"


-- "Better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy;"


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