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Breaking the Silence spokesman's testimony corroborated by newly released footageAfter the Israeli State Attorney's Office reported that it had found evidence that a Breaking the Silence spokesman's testimony was a lie, footage released today (Monday) by the organization appears to corroborate the spokesman's story and will likely force prosecutors to reopen their investigation.
Last week, the Israeli State Attorney's Office reported that their investigation into an incident described by Breaking the Silence Spokesman Dean Issacharoff was closed after it was found that he had lied in his testimony, in which he claimed to have beaten a Palestinian man during his IDF service. Prosecutors investigated Issacharoff’s claim after it was brought to the attention of Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev by IDF reservists. Investigators subsequently interviewed the suspected Palestinian detainee who denied ever being beaten by Issacharoff.
Reports that Issacharoff allegedly lied caused further political controversy surrounding the credibility and mission of Breaking the Silence. However, tonight (Monday), the left-wing organization released footage showing Issacharoff in an altercation with a different Palestinian man being detained. Breaking the Silence claims that this Palestinian, who was visibly injured, had not been interviewed by the state and therefore corroborates Issacharoff’s story.
"The State Attorney's Office determined Dean Issacharoff was not telling the truth based on the questioning of the wrong Palestinian," the organization said.
State investigators had initially found evidence that Issacharoff’s story only corresponded to one incident from February 2014, during which Palestinian Hassan Julani was detained for throwing rocks near Hebron. During his interview with the prosecutor’s office, Julani stated he had not been beaten which led to the decision to close the case. However, Breaking the Silence claims the prosecutors misidentified both the incident and the person Issacharoff referred to in his testimony.
Earlier today, Deputy State Prosecutor Nurit Litman called the organization’s claims against investigators “baseless” and rejected their requests to reopen the investigation.
"The claims that law enforcement officials supposedly act in consideration outside the framework of an investigation are baseless," Littman wrote in response to a request by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights. Litman noted that the recent allegations, primarily those involving the possibility that the victim was misidentified and that testimonies from corroborating soldiers were not taken, "do not change the prosecution's decision to close the file for lack of guilt."
Litman stated that Issacharoff's claim that Julani is not the Palestinian he had beaten "is inconsistent with the evidence as well as the information he himself gave during his interrogation." Yet, following the newly released footage, Israeli prosecution will likely have to re-examine the matter given that it documents a different incident, which had not yet been investigated.
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