"What is important to say is that this soldier was not in the field at the time. He told his commander about a week [during] which he wasn't even in the field. He reported about what he heard happened.
"I can say that at no point was there any civilian who was used as a human shield. We never sent anybody in ahead of us to any place.
"There was one incident where a civilian asked if he could go into his house first so that he could guard whoever was in there and keep us from destroying his house. And therefore he asked to go in first to tell those inside to get out of the house so that they wouldn't be hurt. The commander of the unit personally approved his request. Nobody pointed a gun at him, and he didn't go in ahead of the soldiers."
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was none to pleased with the Breaking the Silence story.
"Any criticism of IDF operations should be directed to me, as the Israeli defense minister.
"Criticism directed at the IDF by one group or another is inappropriate and misdirected. The IDF is one of the most ethical armies in the world and acts according to the highest moral code."
Granted, there are no absolutes. But I recall the outcry that arose in the wake of the supposed massacre that the IDF was said to have perpetrated in Jenin a few years back. The investigations by the UN revealed that in fact no such massacre took place.
I recall PA leadership saying thousands were dead. It turned out to 52 Arabs, and 23 IDF soldiers. Whoops!
To my knowledge the Talmud is very explicit regarding hearsay testimony. It is inadmissible in civil and criminal cases; regardless of how many people might have told the witness the story. If a witness didn't see it first hand the testimony is considered hearsay. When I first read about this Breaking the Silence fiasco I recalled a discussion I had many years ago with a friend of mine and his father regarding the testimony of witnesses. Was it Rabbi Judah who discussed how judges would admonish witnesses regarding the giving of hearsay testimony in a capital case? If memory serves, the premise was that in a capital crime a witness delivering hearsay testimony that could potentially lead to someone's execution not only had the blood of the convicted on his hands, but of all the future generations that were not born as a result.
Could Col. Peled be lying to cover his ass? The presence or absence of a soldier in a military operation is an easily determined thing. Even if records were to be altered or destroyed, the soldiers of an infantry unit know who is present and who is not. Considering this, Peled would have to be an absolute idiot to lie.
Is it possible that Peled's statement about not using human shields only applies to the fact that he gave no order to permit it, but officers under his command did so without his knowledge? Of course it's possible. But this cannot possibly be verified with hearsay.
While Breaking the Silence questions the morality of the IDF, I must question the morality of of a witness who attempts to damn others with hearsay. The use of human shields is against international law. Again, if the crime has been committed let the actual witness come forward and openly give honest testimony.