The Breaking the Silence report of Israeli soldier testimonies about the attack on Gaza earlier this year continues to reverberate around the world. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, it has yet to be mentioned in the New York Times. Any reason for this Mr. Bronner? Instead of covering this essential followup to the biggest story in the region in the last year, Bronner instead has focused on the threat to Israel from Hezbollah and the Nablus success story. Disappointing.
If he were to check out the report, here is some of what he would find:
TESTIMONY 35 – VANDALISM
… He (one of the soldiers) was in the room, I was in the position, and looked through the window, sitting. He opened a child’s bag. The family was not there, they had run away. He took out notebooks and text books and ripped them. One guy smashed cupboards for kicks, out of boredom. There were guys arguing with the platoon commander before we left the house a week later, over why he wouldn’t let them smash the picture hanging there. They think he was being petty with them. It should be noted that the deputy company commander at the debrieﬁng yelled at them that they’re dealing with non essential issues and we’ve got a humanitarian issue here.
Do you recall anything else related to vandalism?
The deputy company commander’s staff wrote “Death to Arabs” on their wall. You said earlier they wondered why they weren’t being allowed to smash another picture, too. This “too” is due to an atmosphere of… After getting out of there, I heard about the letter that reservists wrote (to the Palestinian family that lived in the house they occupied), saying they were sorry. I thought it was a different world, because of the atmosphere on the ground. I didn’t regard this house either as a house that I should respect and leave neat behind me. For example, once I shat on the roof because I had nowhere else to do it. Leaving this house clean was just not the ﬁrst thing on my mind. There was simply this atmosphere. But about stealing: the company commander, apparently under orders of the battalion commander, held a shame parade to check if stuff was stolen. How did he do it? He didn’t tell the commanders to check each individual soldier. He said: “You (soldiers) pair up, everyone checks his mate for stuff taken. Then you don’t have to yell out if you ﬁnd anything, just come to me discretely, or to the platoon commander and sort it out.” Obviously either this company commander is a total idiot or he just didn’t want such stuff to be found out.
So there was a shame parade where everyone checked his buddy?
It was bullshit. And I’m sure there was looting. I can’t tell you anything more speciﬁc.
Needless to say this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is the full Breaking the Silence report – read it for yourself. Because it might be a while until the mainstream media here in the US gets around to covering it, please help get it out there: