Grassroots Zionist students' group Im Tirtzu has responded to a report blaming the IDF of misdeeds in Gaza by pointing to the fact that it was paid for by a Palestinian-Arab fund.
The report by Breaking the Silence is based on alleged testimony from 60 officers and soldiers who served in Operation Protective Edge. The “evidence” includes allegations of indiscriminate fire on civilian targets by soldiers who took part in the fighting against terrorist organizations Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others in the summer of 2014.
A statement on behalf of Breaking the Silence claimed that “analysis of the evidence indicates a worrisome picture of a drastic change in the IDF’s combat norms. As part of this change, values such as ‘purity of arms’ and ‘human life’ have lost their meaning... although evidence can be found of instances of soldier misconduct in the field, what is more troubling is the systemic policy guiding IDF operations at all levels and in all sectors. The guiding policy – a minimum risk to our forces, even at the price of innocent civilians – along with an attempt to terrorize Palestinians and demoralize them, led to enormous and unprecedented damage to the civilian population and infrastructure in Gaza.”
Now, Im Tirtzu reveals that an Arab-Palestinian Foundation based in Ramallah called the Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF) ordered and financed Breaking the Silence's report. The AHRF provided Breaking the Silence with US$300,000 to write the report, said Im Tirtzu. “Last August, the fund approved emergency funding at the request of partner organizations who approached the fund regarding this issue,” it added.
The AHRF’s goals include a focus on “documenting human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law during the ongoing military assault of the Gaza Strip by Israel,” said Im Tirtzu. “The foundation emphasized the need to coordinate documentation efforts to support current and future documentation and investigation efforts by organizations to assist national and international mechanisms.”
Im Tirtzu's report, which can be downloaded from the group's website, also shows that the AHRF is in direct contact with terrorist organizations, and individuals who have been involved in past and present terrorist activity against Israel, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Global Jihad.
Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, said: “Breaking the Silence is an organization operated by foreign elements hostile to Israel. The organization is exploiting loopholes in Israel’s law to work ceaselessly toward interests dangerous to the existence of the State of Israel. It is unacceptable that Palestinian and Arab foundations related to terrorism invite Israeli propaganda groups to fight on their behalf in Israel.
“The Attorney General must take immediate action to fix the cracks and weaknesses in the law. We also call on the security services of the State of Israel to take seriously the ease with which foreign officials and activists from Israeli organizations can act against the State of Israel and its soldiers.”