Jerusalem, Israel – Over the past few weeks, the Israeli government has gone on the offensive against human rights groups who have publicized allegations against Israel for many months, without any concerted Israeli response.

One of these rights groups which gained attention of late has been “Breaking the Silence”.

This Israeli group held a press conference on April 1, 2009 in Sderot, one mile from Gaza, in which they announced that the British government had financed them to survey more than 1000 Israeli soldiers who had taken part in last December/January Israeli military incursion into Gaza, in order to “find evidence of Israeli war crimes against Gaza civilians”

An organization known as the Rabbis for Human Rights facilitated funding from the Spanish government to hold a conference this past Wednesday in which the Breaking the Silence organization promised to bring about thirty testimonies of Israeli soldiers who had witnesses crimes against Gazan civilians.

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Rabbis for Human Rights had claimed that it had brought such testimonies to the attention of the Israeli army. However, the Israeli army spokes man issued a strong statement, saying that “testimonies were never presented” to the Israeli army from Rabbis for Human Rights or from “Breaking the silence:”

Neither were testimonies brought to the Wednesday conference – only anonyms statements by Israeli soldiers that they had heard of abuse of Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers.

However, the damage was done, and the impression left by the Rabbis for Human Rights in the world media is that Israel must have conducted atrocities against civilians in Gaza.

Most importantly, some board members of the Rabbis for Human Rights have reacted with disappointment that the “Breaking the Silence” group, after all of its publicity, could not and would not provide even one affidavit from an Israeli soldier who witnessed any atrocity by an Israeli soldier.

At the same time, the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the British Ambassador to Israel to express Israel’s “outrage” at the UK sponsorship for the “Breaking the Silence:” campaign.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has issued an internet accessible 164 page report, “The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects”, which examines the biases of non-government organizations that have been issuing reports against Israel since the recent conflict.

On the central issue of how Palestinians used civilians as human shields, this Israeli government report noted that prominent human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, claimed to have no evidence of Hamas’ utilization of this practice.

The Israeli report also quoted Hamas operatives who openly bragged that they had launched rocket attacks from schools.

The report also described incidents “in which Hamas activists requested children to wheel carts laden with rockets, in case IDF forces noticed them.”

Numerous examples are provided, including televised speeches of a Hamas legislator who encouraged women, children and the elderly to use their bodies to protect Hamas military sites against Israeli attack.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.