Sunday, 11 January 2015

SICKO!!!! Breaking the Silence ABC / Slezak


Breaking the Silence

Sunday 9 September 2012 10:05AM
How are Palestinians living under the Occupation in the West Bank and Gaza?
Academic, writer and commentator Peter Slezak took a tour of the Palestinian Occupied Territories earlier this year and met with a range of Palestinians and Israelis including members of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, who take tours around hotspots in the West Bank and Gaza.
His journey, as the son of holocaust survivors, was confronting and harrowing as he witnessed what this Occupation means in terms of the human rights abuses that occur routinely, and the annexation of Palestinian lands to large Israeli settlements and to the 700 km long Separation Wall.

Supporting Information

Defence for Children International
Gisha - Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement
UNRWA  - United National Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees
Al Haq - defending Human Rights in Palestine
Jordan Valley Solidarity
B’Tselem - The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Peter Slezak’s blog  - Independent Australian Jewish Voices


Yehuda Shaul
Co-founder of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO that gathers testimonies from ex IDF soldiers and takes
tours throughout the West Bank.
Gerard Horton
Lawyer with Defence for Children International, Palestine
Shawan Jabarin
Director of Al Haq, Human Rights NGO, Ramallah
Chris Gunness
UNRWA spokesperson
Sari Bashi
Director of Gisha, the Israeli NGO that works for freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank


Dr. Peter Slezak
Sound Engineer
Mark Don
Cathy Peters
Cathy Peters

Comments (44)

  • Matt :

    05 Sep 2012 9:20:56pm
    Great piece! Balanced and a new perspective. Those soldiers are very brave.

    • Gus :

      07 Sep 2012 6:11:30pm
      Thanks so much for the program. Our politicians and media have succumbed to the Zionist lobby; even the Greens have submitted after the beating they received at the hands of the Murdoch press. Only Jewish voices can stand against the continuing injustice perpetrated against the Palestinians.
      • Andrew S :

        13 Sep 2012 5:44:38am
        I note that this program was first broadcast on Sunday 9 September, yet this comment and the preceding one are dated before the broadcast.

        How can one comment on a program they haven't heard and how does the ABC permit that?
        Moderator: Hi Andrew,
        We put the audio of our programs on our website during the week before the broadcast. Any time between the tuesday and the friday before.
    • nadyat :

      09 Sep 2012 11:39:34am
      Congratulations on a compelling and confronting program.

      I know all of this theoretically, but listening to people's stories just made me weep from the injustice.

      Good on those soldiers and I hope many more will speak out along with others who oppose the occupation.

      • Mary c :

        09 Sep 2012 11:42:47am
        What an amazing piece of journalism! I wanted to hear more from these people, both Palestinian and Jewish interviewees! The IDF soldiers were particularly poignant and candid in describing their experiences and demonstrated their true humanity! may they continue their brave work!!
        • Brian Dodd :

          09 Sep 2012 1:00:17pm
          Superb show. Finally some readily available truth to counter the lies, spin and miss-information from our politicians, the press and the zionist lobby in both Australia and the US.
          Thank you ABC.
          • Conrad :

            09 Sep 2012 2:11:38pm
            A magnificent program. It's clear, concise, and presents an irrefutable case against the terrible reality of Israeli colonialism, apartheid and occupation. Deserves a wide hearing. Congratulations all round, especially to Peter Slezak.
            • Vacy :

              09 Sep 2012 3:37:47pm
              A superb and measured insight into the tragedy and hardships of Palestinian lives under Israeli colonial occupation reinforced with the tough credibility of the Jewish voice of Peter Slezak and the Israeli voice of Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of Breaking the Silence.
              • Lia :

                09 Sep 2012 10:30:08pm
                Heartbreaking half-truths that mislead and distort reality. A dreadful disservice to peace.
            • nick :

              09 Sep 2012 4:18:58pm
              Sticks and stones may break my bones and also maybe kill me (if you disagree can I meet you somewhere, brick in hand,to test it?).

              While the Israeli action is clearly unbalanced, please don't forget that a stone (how big?) in the hands of a child (how big? how old?) can kill. No mention of rockets or suicide bombs in this program, the wall and security is there for a reason. If the Israeli's were to dismantle their security (including excess military) and then later to come under extreme pressure, would we come to their aid unconditionally? Would you be on the next plane to help? I think this is the critical point, until they can feel secure in the international sense, they will look after themselves with all the problems that come with that.
              • Rex Inutilis :

                16 Sep 2012 9:16:33am
                I totally agree. Just because their is a U.N mandated right to resist occupation does not mean the Palestinians should use it!! If they must resist they should write sternly-worded letters to the occupiers, that is how all colonised peoples win their independence.
            • Jennifer Killen :

              09 Sep 2012 7:40:07pm
              Thank you for this programme. In 2009 I spent 3 months on the West Bank as a volunteer teacher with an English charity. It is so important that these stories are told, that the Australian media develops some balance. Ruth Pollard in the Sydney Morning Herald is doing great work so that publication is streets ahead of the rest of the Australian media. With this programme, the ABC is starting to catch up. Thank you to all involved.
              • David :

                09 Sep 2012 8:20:05pm
                It is absolutely infuriating to listen to a piece of blatant propaganda paid for by our ABC tax payer dollars. Peter Slezak, a notorious anti-Zionist activist, who wants to see Israel dismantled, has been given the opportunity to push his agenda without providing any proper accountability for his virulent anti-Israeli allegations uttered completely out of context. This is the kind of unbalanced, biased reporting that feeds the public with disinformation and lies that exacerbates the conflict and aims to delegitimise Israel’s very existence.
                The Palestinians are falsely painted as innocent victims. Slezak ignores the suffering of Israeli citizens who are under the constant barrage of rockets fired from Gaza and the violent Palestinian incitement encouraged by acknowledged terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah and even the Palestinian Authority. Slezak's aim is paint a convenient picture of Palestinian suffering in which the Palestinians have no responsibility for their predicament, which has occurred principally as a result of their corrupt, Jew-hating leadership.
                Moderator: Next week on 360docuemtaries there will be aprogam about the Israeli settlers and a response to Breaking The Silence from the government of Israel. You can listen to that interview now on our website.
                • Chris Johnson :

                  09 Sep 2012 11:55:35pm
                  Very interesting program, although I doubt that Mark Regev will agree! I have long been outraged (yes, that is the right word) about the way the Palestinians are treated, and, in particular, the way the world ignores their plight. I can't understand why most governments around the world, including all of ours (both Labor and Liberal) are so one-sided on this issue and won't ever even consider reprimanding Israel, no matter what it does. It's not anti-Semitic to criticise a country for turfing people out of their homes, for taking away their land and for shooting children who are throwing stones. Preventing them from basic rights such as getting to work or getting enough fresh water makes no sense, and you can't blame those on the receiving end for their frustrations at the way they're treated. And what kind of democracy only gives one section of its population the basic rights which the rest is denied? And what a waste of money all those "security" measures are. Imagine what could be done with that money to make the country a proper democracy for all those who live there.
                  • Nharyan Feldmann :

                    14 Sep 2012 7:22:13pm
                    Well said, I could not agree more. Good to know there are some sane people out there.
                • John Stace :

                  10 Sep 2012 12:41:25am

                  This is an excellent program!! Well done ABC for bringing news of the sufferings and injustices of the Palestinians at the hands of the occupying Israelis.

                  I applaud the brave Israeli soldiers who were willing to Break the Silence and to communicate what they know about the abuse of Palestinians.

                  As Dr. Peter Slezak pointed out, Jewish people have been persecuted over the centuries and it seems strange that they are now abusing the Palestinians and stealing their land.
                  • Ev :

                    10 Sep 2012 8:02:47am
                    I'm interested that there are Jews and Israelis standing up to injustice who are not jailed or threatened for doing this. Are there corresponding voices on the Palestinian side who speak up against corruption of their leaders (how many millions did Arafat's widow inherit?) or the suicide bombings of their compatriots? Why did the ABC program mention a single extremist action by a Jewish nutter at Hebron but say nothing about the scores of Palestinian suicide bombers? Israelis and Jews everywhere condemned the Hebron massacre by Baruch Goldstein. In contrast, Palestinians make heroes of their suicide bombers and their relatives receive bonuses for their actions.
                    • Dov Midalia :

                      10 Sep 2012 9:28:29am
                      This program contained some hard truths about what happens in war. Palestinians did suffer during Israel's attack on Gaza in 2009 and do experience inconvenience and indignity because of the West Bank security barrier, the stringent checkpoints and the presence of fanatical Jewish settlers.

                      But first, Peter Slezak did not once mention why any of this happened. No mention of months of horrific suicide bombings in 2000-2001 (in response to Israel's offer of a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem), which only ceased after the security barrier was built. No mention of thousands of missiles fired from Gaza at Israeli towns before the 2009 war (the Palestinian response to Israel's voluntary de-occupation of Gaza in 2005), or of the fact that Israel only targeted Hamas, which hid among the populace. Neither the Gaza war nor the security barrier would have been necessary except for relentless Palestinian aggression. Yes, there is an Israeli right wing which wants to keep the West Bank, but it is only Palestinian aggression that has shifted Israeli opinion towards them.

                      Second, yes, Baruch Goldstein was a Jewish terrorist, but he is almost alone in that category, compared to the hundreds of deadly Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli and other Jews over the years. By all means mention Goldstein, but why omit the rest?

                      Third, as usual with non-Hebrew-speaking 'researchers', the Israelis interviewed were all American immigrants, who tend to be on either the far left or far right of Israeli politics. More typical Israelis make pragmatic calculations about long-term survival: when they saw hope they gave Rabin and Barak mandates to return land, but having seen such land turned into missile bases, now they vote the other way. Slezak has missed the real Israeli logic by selecting a sample group that suits his purposes.

                      Slezak has created propaganda, emotional, distorted and light on facts or logic. This does not serve the cause of truth or peace.
                      • Conrad :

                        10 Sep 2012 10:52:00pm
                        Palestinian suffering is nothing more than "an attack on Gaza in 2009" and a bit of "inconvenience and indignity at checkpoints"?

                        You mean the British didn't give their homeland to another people without asking them first? You mean the majority of them weren't expelled from their homeland in 1948? You mean more weren't expelled in 1967? You mean the rest haven't lived under occupation since 1967? You mean the 48 and 67 exiles haven't been living in refugee camps since 48 and 67? You mean they haven't been robbed blind of their patrimony by the Israelis?

                        What planet do you live on, DM? Planet Israel?
                    • Sylvia Hale :

                      10 Sep 2012 12:58:16pm
                      A truly excellent program - incisive, succinct, and wide-ranging. Comments by UN representatives on the ground and by former members of the IDF throw a much-needed light on Israeli treatment of the Palestinian population.

                      Peter Slezak's observation that it had never occurred to him as a child that the slogan "Never again!" was to apply only to Jews went straight to the heart of Israeli hypocrisy.

                      Recent revelations about the Israeli Government's duchessing of Members of Parliament with more than 40 paid trips to Israel show just how determined Israel is promote its sanitised, grossly distorted version of 'reality'.

                      Congratulations ABC on a long-overdue account of what the Palestinian community endures on a daily basis.
                      • Fay Waddington :

                        10 Sep 2012 6:46:36pm
                        So good to hear this. I admire so much those Jews who are prepared (often at great personal cost) to speak up on this topic. Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, Jeff Halper, Anna Baltzer and more - so proud of you all. Looking forward to Ilan Pappe's address at Press Club on 19th
                        • Adon Emmett :

                          10 Sep 2012 8:33:21pm
                          What passes for investigative journalism is a piece of steatorrhoea.

                          Devoid of context, balance, and replete with half-truths and unsubstantiated allegations, here we have "our ABC" at work.

                          One notes that the Israeli Government response to the allegations could only find it's way into a difficult-to-find download separate from the story.

                          Slezak tells us four times at least that he is a child of Holocaust survivors - the other 99.9% of children of Holocaust survivors (not questioned in this magnum opus) would totally disagree with his conclusions.

                          Oh well, another Radio National anti-Israel beat up preying on the gullible! What's new?
                          Moderator: Thanks for your comments Adon, the Israeli government response to the program will air this Sunday and will then be available on our website as a separate story.
                          • David :

                            11 Sep 2012 10:18:22am
                            The moderator is helping to confuse the situation. In a remark after my original post above it indicated there was a response to Breaking The Silence from the government of Israel and 'You can listen to that interview now on our website.' I assumed that meant the very brief, token segment here already from Paul Herschon. Now I read that the Israeli government response to the program will air this Sunday and will then be available on this website as a separate story.
                            Is the ABC aware that it will face ridicule for not giving those who oppose the antics of Slezak the right to a full reply of equal time?
                        • Andrew S :

                          11 Sep 2012 12:09:03am
                          ABC can you please provide a transcript of this program. When I started to listen to this, the factual inaccuracies were coming so fast I couldn’t keep up.

                          Even a simple thing like when Israel was created - Mr Slezak said 1947, but it was 1948.

                          He then referred to ‘60 years of brutal occupation’. But the West Bank and Gaza were captured in 1967 in a war of self-defence. On the other hand, if he is suggesting that Israel’s presence on any part of British Mandate Palestine is an ‘occupation’, then that would fit with the extremist narrative that Israel has no right to exist at all.

                          As for the ‘Wall’, Mr Slezak dismisses out of hand the security concerns Israel had with suicide bombers deliberately targeting civilians in restaurants, buses and other public places.

                          One example was the murder of the Melbourne born schoolgirl, Malki Roth, who was one of 15 killed by a suicide bomber. The young Palestinian woman who assisted the suicide bomber was recently released from jail in a swap deal. She gave a TV interview about the bombing which shows the mindset of what Israel is up against. A translated extract can be seen here:
                          The parents of Malki commented about that interview here: 
                          • David M :

                            11 Sep 2012 9:28:55am
                            To the moderator, the ABC and the Aussie taxpayer: Offering an aggrieved party the opportunity of a response does not correct what is demonstrably bad journalism. Remember, 360 is meant to be a documentary, not an opinion piece.

                            And what's with the "child of Holocaust survivors" claim? That's nothing more than argumentum ad verecundiam (argument from authority). Hardly professional.
                            • Jeff Loewenstein :

                              11 Sep 2012 10:56:05am
                              Dr Slezak and the ABC deserve plaudits for this program. All too often the shrill voice of those in the Jewish community who would deny reading / hearing / seeing what is really happening in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza predominates.

                              As anyone who has visited Israel and the West Bank will confirm, the program presented a balanced and accurate picture of what is actually happening "on the ground" - and all that entails and leads to.

                              One has to wonder why those who attack people like Peter Slezak with offensive epithets and labels are so willing to remain blind, and ignorant, in the light of myriads of reports from UN, and other agencies, about the plight of the Palestinians and what Israel is doing in stealing {there is no other word for it!) land in the West Bank. And then there is the "prison" the Israelis have imposed on those in Gaza and the inhuman and inhumane treatment meted out to the Gazans.

                              As many of the soldiers in the program state....most people in Israel are ignorant of what is going on. That applies even more so to those in Australia who are so one-eyed and unwilling to even consider what their uncritical acceptance of anything Israel engages in, does to the "image" of a people who have known oppression and profess to be "a light unto the Nations". 
                              • Cynthia Marchant :

                                12 Sep 2012 12:06:27am
                                Good on you RN for airing this program. Of course it hasn't pleased everyone. But this is a democracy isn't it where we can all speak openly I hope??
                                • David M :

                                  13 Sep 2012 4:07:27pm
                                  There is no problem with airing such a program as an opinion piece and we are entitled to do that in a democracy, no matter how strange, inaccurate or offensive the opinion may be (although taxpayer's money should not be used for this purpose).

                                  What there is a very serious problem with is that 360 by its very name (360 Documentaries) is meant to be a documentary. The purpose of a documentary is to present a factual record of some aspect of reality and it should be usable as a historic, instructional or factual reference.

                                  The deficiencies in this program have been pointed out by other posters and I will not reiterate them.

                                  This program was not a documentary and should not bear that description. If 360 were a commercial product "our" ABC would be in trouble for providing a false description.
                                • GEORGE QUITTNER :

                                  15 Sep 2012 6:31:58am
                                  THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY. This so called documentary would pretend to present the Palestinian side. Why not just say "Israelis are evil oppressors who will stop at nothing to hurt Palestinian women and children" ....and ..."Palestinians are long suffering gentle people who have done nothing to deserve their fate at the hands of their sadistic tormentors". At least then the biased precept of this entire sham documentary would be stated. The truth, which is not to be found in this story, is that both the Palestinian and Jewish people have been hostage a violent minority...most of whom happen to be from the arab world. The minute ANYBODY can guarantee the right of jews and palestinians to live side by side free from suicide bombers and rockets...the walls will magically come down. Let Peter Slezak persuade Hamas and their Iranian mates stop their acts of violence, and the walls will come down. The true jailer of the Palestinian people is Hamas.
                              • Kate :

                                14 Sep 2012 3:48:49pm
                                Terribly one-sided. How can you do a report on the Palestinian territories and not even mention that Hamas, a terrorist organisation, controls the Gaza Strip? How can you comment on ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008, without even mentioning the rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza?

                                There was also no real recognition of Israel's security concerns. Slezak does not mention that the security fence was established following a wave of terrorist attacks in the Second Intifada, and since its establishment has brought terrorists attacks to nearly zero.

                                • Richard B :

                                  14 Sep 2012 4:43:10pm

                                  Fifty year ago Australian support - by the populationa at large, the media, government - for the apartheid regime in South Africa was comparable to that enjoyed by Israel until very recently.
                                  Programs like yours will hopefully encourage more people to learn more about the situation there, and to ask questions, take action.
                                  Well done.
                                  • Jill :

                                    14 Sep 2012 7:51:40pm
                                    I'm just back from spending 3 weeks on the West Bank and 3 weeks on the "Israel side" of the wall. I went with no particular bias or axe to grind. Much of this documentary was borne out in my experience. (it was Ramadan, so pretty quiet most of the time during my stay in Ramallah, except for on Fridays when Muslims wanting to go to the mosques in Jerusalem were held up for hours in extreme heat at the Qalandia checkpoint). I too met Hebronites who'd lost their homes and businesses to settlers who'd just taken over these properties (we'd call them squatters or thieves in Australia) and I saw the netting over the market stalls that tried to stop the garbage and excrement thrown by settlers living in the houses above from landing on shoppers. I met families who have been repeatedly assaulted and abused by neighbours whose behaviour is bogan beyond belief. I met bedouins whose homes have been bulldozed or placed under demolition orders. None of this has anything to do with responses to Palestinian acts of terrorism or Israelis protecting their "birthright". It's about State sanctioned bullying, individualised violence and an apartheid system which can't be justified by claims of "keeping the peace". Thanks for this programme Peter Slezak.
                                    • Julian Asaint :

                                      16 Sep 2012 5:25:42pm
                                      For most observers of this decades-old tragedy, the most
                                      incomprehensible aspect about Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is this: how on earth is it possible that an ethnic group that suffered such horrors in WWII could behave in such a brutal and inhumane manner towards their colonised? And the fact that the daily humiliation visited upon the hapless civilians is clearly systemic, almost suggest a ghoulish relish at the prospect of wielding this power imbalance.

                                      In responding to the murder of the four diplomatic staff in Libya recently, I note Obama reminded the world that “ We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom of people.” The US government’s track record over the past 6 decades shows just how hollow these words are to Palestinian ears.

                                      The plight of the Palestinians in Western MSM shows them to be “the forgotten people,” so more power to the ABC for programs such as these. However, preaching to the converted (by the tone of posted comments) is all very well, but real action to redress these horrible injustices can only come about if the US ever has the guts to exercise the obvious leverage it has over Israel – don’t hold your breath. 
                                  • Eve Laing :

                                    18 Sep 2012 1:00:27am
                                    So disappointing to find what is called journalism is only a 360 Documentary Narrative. Journalism supposes objective fact as well as a presentation of both sides of a story. Again you present one side and say it is journalism.

                                    You suggest that the poverty in Palestine is caused by the Israelis. Arafat started the PLO as middle class amd died wealthy. Millions of dollars poured in to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians but the money trail stopped at his door. The poverty of his people starts with him. There are 5 million Palestinians living in neighbouring Arab countries in refugee camps. Their lives are much worse than those living in Palestine as they are prohibited from working and have to do with handouts....yet 360 Documentaries never comments on them. Why not?

                                    You talk of the great poverty in Gaza. On the day the Turkish Flotilla was launched to feed the 'starving' people in Gaza, on a lark I Googled..."GAZA SHOPPING MALLS". I never expected to see what was presented, Please, be my guest, Google it and just be Gobsmacked. Did you know that Gazan Seaside Real Estate sells for millions and extremely wealthy people are building there. What are you people talking about without knowing anything about the facts?

                                    You see everything through the lens of your biases and ideology. Sure both the Israelis and Palestines do good and bad. Nothing real is one sided. Grow up.

                                    Moderator: Thanks for your comments Eve. We actually did a program about the economy of Gaza under the blockade that you might find interesting to listen to. You'll find it here.
                                    • Petet :

                                      19 Sep 2012 4:35:22pm
                                      Are youm able to imagine the Australian government setting our soldiers aqainst the people of Queensland. Yes, whilst the Israeli Government refuses to allow the establishment of a separate Palestinian State, the Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, are members of the State of Israel. Furthermore the young Israeli soldiers are conscripts.
                                      It is easy to understand why many young Israelis dodge the draft.
                                      So often Israel states that it is the only democraqcy in the region. Rubbish!!

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