Barak says he is the right place to turn to (archives)
Photo: AFP
Gaza following Israeli offensive
Photo: AP
Barak: Criticism against IDF should be referred to me
Defense minister calls on soldiers who have any criticism, information or reservations over army's conduct to direct them to him, rather than to activist organizations like Breaking the Silence which has released anonymous testimonies from Gaza offensive
Who should soldiers complain to? Thirty anonymous Israel Defense Forces troops have been quoted in a report released by activist organization Breaking the Silence, in which they spoke of activities which took place against procedures during the Israeli offensive in Gaza.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to the report Wednesday morning, saying that "if anyone has any criticism, information of reservations over the IDF's operations, they must direct them to me as the State of Israel's defense minister and to the Israeli government, which was the one to order to IDF to restore calm in the southern communities.


Minister Barak added, "Criticism directed at the IDF by one organization or another is inappropriate and is directed at the wrong place. The IDF is one of the most ethical armies in the world and acts in accordance with the highest moral code."


The IDF Spokesperson's Office stated in response that the army "regrets the fact that a human rights organization is presenting to Israel and the world, once again, a report containing general and anonymous testimonies without ascertaining their details or reliability and without allowing the IDF, with minimal fairness, a chance to probe the affairs and respond prior to their publication".


The statement adds that the IDF "believes Breaking the Silence should encourage testifiers to break their silence and present specific claims in order for it to be possible to deal with the claims properly and investigate them, and not to hide behind anonymous testimonies".


Except for a sergeant named Amir, the soldiers quoted by the organization are anonymous and their faces digitally blurred.


"We believe that the existence of a moral society clearly requires a profound, honest discussion, of which the voice of soldiers on the ground is an inseparable part," the group says.


Soldiers describe a "Neighbor Procedure" in which civilians were forced to enter suspect buildings ahead of troops. They cite cases of civilians advancing in front of a soldier resting his rifle on their shoulder.


Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.15.09, 10:55
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