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What we were talking about this week

Letter from Reservists on Duty

The letter from members of the unit in which Avner Gvaryahu, one of the leaders of Breaking the Silence, was a member:

This is not just another letter. The time has come to turn the tables. We have decided to reveal the truth, and to reveal ourselves. All of us – a complete unit – were with Avner at the incidents that he is talking about. We are living proof. We, by our names and signatures – we are the truth that Breaking the Silence cannot cope with.

Letter from combat soldiers of Paratroopers Orev Reconnaissance Unit, Nov 04 group
19 January 2016

We, the soldiers and commanders of Paratroopers Orev Reconnaissance Unit, Nov 2004 group, took part in hundreds of actions and arrest operations in Judea and Samaria and in Lebanon, putting our lives at risk, out of a sense of commitment, mission and knowledge that our actions were essential to protect the citizens of the State of Israel.

Today, about 8 years after being discharged, we are uniting to again stand at the front, in order to bring the truth to light.

We will no longer agree to the fabrications and made-up stories, the distortion of the truth, and the twisting of reality as it relates to our military activity. We will not let anyone tarnish our name and depict us as war criminals.

We will not let anyone achieve his aims at the expense of the truth – certainly not one of the members of our own unit, who is well acquainted with the members of the unit and its values.

Let us be clear – we do not belong to any political organization. We are in favor of criticism aimed at preventing those illegal incidents that sometimes occur in the course of military action, and we are unequivocally opposed to personal  harassment and incitement against our comrade at arms, Avner – we will not leave any comrade behind, even if he is mistaken.

But the public in Israel has the right to know the truth. The truth of all members of the unit, and not just of one person. Without [outside] interests and without distortion.

This is our right and our moral duty – to ourselves, to the soldiers of the IDF and to the nation in Israel.

All of us, left and right alike, state clearly – the acts attributed to the unit, in those reports, are not so!

At no time did we receive rules of engagement that allowed firing on people who are unarmed, we did not loot property, and there is no basis to the claim that members of the unit frequently used violence against arrestees or that we would regularly beat them.

Breaking the Silence claims that all of the testimonies in the organization are cross-checked with additional witnesses. Avner Gvaryahu’s testimonies were never cross-checked with members of the unit.

This petition is signed by 23 members of the unit. There is a great distance between the testimony of a single individual and that of a whole unit. Hence, we demand that Breaking the Silence bear the burden of proof – if the testimonies are true and reflect that which took place in the unit – prove it and back it up with facts!

Since you are unable to do so – we demand that you remove the testimonies relating to the unit, and apologize for their publication.

Criticism is permitted – lying is not.

Soldiers and commanders of Paratroopers Orev Unit, Nov 2004 group
Lior Nagar
Or Shaked
Carmi Benayahu
Boris Beckman
Yuval Peletz
David Rudman
Tomer Guy
Nadav Amrami
Erez Yaniv
Maxwell Manning
Avishai Maneto
Eliron Peretz
Aviv Noy
Jeffrey Reid
Yitzhak Shlesinger
Hagai Malik
Dotan Stenitsky
Shaked Harush
Tamir Meir
Arik Dratzinsky
Alex Smirnov
Alexander Gurshtein
Elkana Ozeri

The IDF and the Rule of Law

In response to questions raised about the legality of IDF operations and a number of issues surrounding recent events, and a number of issues surrounding recent events, we interviewed Lt. Col. (Res.) David Benjamin Adv., an Israel-based attorney and international consultant specialising in international law, the law of armed conflict and counter-terrorism. He is a former senior officer in the Israel Defense Forces Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG) where he served as Chief Legal Adviser for the Gaza Strip and as Director of the strategic and international branch of the International Law Department.

To get a solider’s perspective, we spoke to Israeli soldier (Res.) Benayahu Carmi. Benayahu served for 3 years in the Orev unit of the Paratroopers and was wounded during his service. He lives in Lod and teaches special education in Modi’in.

We also heard from Dr. Tuvia Book, who was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Tuvia has a doctorate in Israel education. His dissertation title is: “Through the Soldiers’ Eyes: Exploring the Influence of a Birthright Mifgash on the Israeli Soldier Participants.”

Lt. Col. (Res) David Benjamin on Breaking the Silence
Lt. Col. (Res) David Benjamin on International Law
Lt. Col. (Res) David Benjamin on the Gaza Demonstrations
Lt. Col. (Res) David Benjamin on the Elor Azaria case
Lt. Col. (Res) David Benjamin on the Wild West
Benayahu Carmi on “is service in the territories a recipe for disaster?”
Benayahu Carmi on Breaking the Silence
Benayahu Carmi on Gaza Demonstrations
Benayahu Carmi on rules of engagement
Dr. Tuvia Book Breaks his Silence on Breaking the Silence

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