Sunday, December 05, 2004

This is an utterly fascinating story from the Jerusalem Post - B'Tselem and the IDF: Unlikely partners - the Israeli army has been hosting lectures by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, which relentlessly criticizes the army.

Publicly, the army has long followed a practice of either responding to some of B'Tselem's flow of allegations with a robust defense of its actions, or choosing to ignore them. Privately, and remarkably, however, it has gradually been exposing more and more of its soldiers directly to their B'Tselem critics.

B'Tselem staff have been delivering lectures to the IDF, at the Military Educational Academy at Har Gilo, south of Jerusalem, on a sporadic basis since the mid 1990s. But over the past two years, precisely as B'Tselem's critiques of the army have reached new heights, the frequency of such lectures has increased dramatically.

In close coordination with senior officers from the IDF's Educational Corps, B'Tselem staffers now lecture at least two or three times a month to a broad spectrum of IDF soldiers including Border Police, the officers who staff the District Coordination offices handling entry permits for Palestinian civilians, officers training for the Educational Corps, and members of a new checkpoint unit.

Would that the U.S. army was sponsoring similar lectures by Amnesty International and the International Red Cross!

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