Breaking the Silence
Some of the most powerful voices for peace can belong to soldiers; men and women who know what conflict means, the impact it has on those who fight and the crucial line between legitimate self-defence and unwarranted aggression.
Some of the most powerful voices for peace can belong to soldiers
Breaking The Silence is a forum for such voices. The Israeli non-governmental organisation was founded in 2004 by a group of soldiers who served in Hebron, in the occupied Territories. In their own words, they “have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavour to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation.”
Breaking The Silence collects and publishes testimonies from Israeli soldiers who have served in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem since September 2000, and holds lectures, meetings and other public events which bring to light the reality in the Occupied Palestinian Territories through the voices of former combatants. They also conduct tours in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills region, with the aim of giving the Israeli public access to the reality which exists minutes from their own homes.
They not only provide soldiers with a unique way to give voice to their experiences, but they also break a vicious cycle of silence by stimulating courageous public conversations about the price the occupation and this conflict exacts on soldiers and civilians.
To date, the organization has collected testimonies from over 1,100 soldiers who represent all strata of Israeli society and cover nearly all units that operate in the occupied Palestinian territories. All the testimonies are meticulously researched, and all facts are cross-checked with additional sources.
In striving to bring home the realities of the conflict and occupation of the Palestinian territories to an Israeli public that too often prefers to look away, Breaking the Silence courageously defends the values of peace, human rights, truth and reconciliation.