Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Stranger than Fiction - December 2017

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On the grounds of self-incrimination

"Breaking the Silence" is an Israeli NGO that campaigns against Israeli military policies in the West Bank by circulating often damning testimonies from soldiers and former soldiers about alleged human rights abuses of Palestinians. The group's detractors counter with criticism that its activities seem far more directed to an international audience than a domestic Israeli one, as they would be if the aim was to change practices. Further, they note that the vast majority of the testimony it publishes is anonymous and lacking in specific details and thus impossible to investigate.

However, group spokesman Dean Issacharoff appears to have decided to counter this criticism by seemingly making some very specific allegations – against himself. Issacharoff told a rally in April that, while arresting a Palestinian in Hebron in February 2014, he had kneed the Palestinian until he was bleeding and dazed.

Several of Issacharoff's former platoon colleagues were quick to deny the incident had happened, and the State Attorney-General opened an investigation. In September, authorities tracked down the Palestinian, Hassan Julani, who stated that, while he was arrested, no violence had been committed against him.

On this basis, the Attorney-General's office announced on Nov. 16 that it was closing the investigation because it had "revealed that the events he described did not occur."

One might expect that Issacharoff and "Breaking the Silence" would be relieved, but they did not take the exoneration well. They labelled the investigation a "farce", claimed that the wrong Palestinian was questioned, he had been coerced and that the outcome - from the non-political State Attorney-General's office - was political.

It appears Issacharoff is so determined to tarnish Israel and its defence forces that he won't rest until he is punished for a crime evidence indicates he did not commit.

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