An Israeli NGO that tracks alleged army abuses of Palestinians tells a court that it would no longer be able to function if the government forced it to name its anonymous informants.
“To demand lifting the confidentiality of testimonies would amount to simply demanding the end of Breaking The Silence,” the group’s lawyer Michael Sfard tells the magistrate’s court on the first day of hearings on the state’s demand that it hand over the names.
Proceedings are set to continue on July 18.
The NGO provides a platform for military veterans to describe what they say were disturbing aspects of their service in the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip and in operations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The state attorney’s office says that anonymous witnesses allow potential lies to spread and make it impossible to investigate alleged abuses.
“What is at stake is more than the future of Breaking The Silence,” Sfard said in the packed courtroom in Petah Tikvah near Tel Aviv.
“Today it is Breaking The Silence that finds itself in court, tomorrow it will be bloggers, tomorrow it will be other members of the press and of course NGOs which defend human rights.”