Breaking the Silence is an organisation of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects testimonies from soldiers who have served in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000. A number of these testimonies are posted on its website, http://breakingthesilence.org.il.
The group argues on its site that, "Cases of abuse towards Palestinians, looting, and destruction of property have been the norm for years, but are still excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases". "While this reality which is known to Israeli soldiers and commanders exists in Israel's back yard, Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that which happens in its name … Breaking the Silence voices the experiences of those soldiers, in order to force Israeli society to address the reality which it created."
Below is an extract from one of the testimonies, entitled "Body a day", by a first sergeant in the armoured corps who served in the Gaza Strip.
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"… the open-fire orders would constantly change. Meaning: there were times when — 'Every person you see on the street, kill him'. And we would do it. We wouldn't think … The first time we were deployed in Gaza there was a time when, say, at 1am, we would have to go on an operation — to demolish some Palestinian police building. And the open-fire orders were: "Every person that is on the street — shoot to kill. Don't mind whether he has or has no gun on him" …
"[In] the early period of my basic training, each day, someone would have killed someone, or shoot an innocent person …"