by Maayana Miskin
(IsraelNN.com) A new controversy has broken out over the three-week Cast Lead counter-terror operation that the IDF waged in Gaza earlier this year. Two organizations have come out with video testimony from IDF soldiers reporting what they saw and heard during the intense fighting.
The first group, Soldiers Speak Out, has collected several testimonies in English in which soldiers recall witnessing war crimes perpetrated by Hamas. One describes finding rocket launchers in an ambulance whose drivers claimed to be transporting an elderly patient.
Others list the measures they took to protect Arab civilians, from withholding fire on terrorists to tidying up civilian homes after entering them for combat purposes.
The second group, Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika), has collected several testimonies of soldiers saying they saw soldiers causing damage to Arab property, or heard rumors that Arab civilians were used as human shields. Unlike the Soldiers Speak Out videos, the charges set forth by Breaking the Silence were widely reported by international media outlets, including the Associated Press, Reuters, AFP, CNN and The Guardian.
While Soldiers Speak Out testimonies were given by soldiers who used their full names and identified themselves, the Breaking the Silence videos were given anonymously, and soldiers’ faces were blurred.
In March of this year, several major Israeli and international media outlets published testimony from IDF soldiers claiming that the army had committed war crimes in Gaza. Subsequent investigations showed that the reports were based on rumors and media reports, and that none of the soldiers who made serious allegations regarding harm to Arab civilians had witnessed any such incidents themselves.