BTS official, 02/07/17:
Last week we published a new report addressing the relations between settler and the IDF: “The High Command – Settler influence on IDF conduct in the West Bank.”
The report was written following a comprehensive research and in the context of the contentious public debate surrounding the shooting incident in Hebron in March 2016, when IDF soldier Elor Azaria shot and killed a neutralized terrorist. Footage from the incident exposed the public, among other things, to the influence settlers had on the conduct of IDF soldiers and commanders in the scene. However, we, at Breaking the Silence, are already familiar with this aspect of the occupation’s mechanisms. From hundreds of soldiers’ testimonies we have collected since the organization was founded until this day, it is clear to us that when it comes to settler involvement in IDF conduct, what was demonstrated in the footage of the shooting incident in Hebron is not at all exceptional.
After the footage of the Hebron shooting incident went public, we appealed to the IDF Chief of Staff. By suggesting a detailed analysis of the relationship between settlers and the IDF, supplemented by a collection of testimonies that touch on the subject, we wished to bring to his attention the extant and severity of this phenomenon and its consequences.
The IDF Chief of Staff’s response was thoughtful and detailed, yet revealed disturbing gaps between the official commands and procedures (as presented in the response) and the reality on the ground.
Our correspondence with the IDF Chief of Staff’s bureau made it clear to us that there is a need for a thorough and up-to-date research on the matter, and that its conclusions must be shared with the public. The current report is the result of this research.”
[[Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada, and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. They endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Their work aims to bring an end to the occupation.]]
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