Breaking the Silence: Our Harsh Logic
"One of the most important books on Israel/Palestine in this generation."- The New York Review of Books
Readers for Breaking The Silence: Daniel Bohnhorst, Janet Eigner, Daniel Forrest, Jane Lipman, Dan McBride, Argos MacCallum, James McGrath, Dana Negev, Marcia Starck, Judith Toler, Darryl Wellington, and Linda Whittenberg
Support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory both internationally and within Israel itself rests on the belief that the Israeli army's presence in the West Bank and Gaza is essentially protective, aimed at safeguarding the country from terror. But Israeli soldiers themselves tell a profoundly different story. In this landmark work, which includes more than a hundred soldiers' testimonies collected over a decade, what emerges is a broad policy that is as much offensive as defensive. In their own words, the soldiers reveal in vivid detail how key planks of the army's program have served to accelerate Israeli acquisition of Palestinian land, cripple all normal political and social life, and ultimately thwart the possibility of Palestinian independence. Taking aim at a silence of complicity that perpetuates the justification for occupation, the soldiers who speak out here offer a gripping and immediate record of oppression. Powerful and incontrovertible, Our Harsh Logic is a supremely significant contribution to one of the world's most vexed conflicts.
note: Our Harsh Logic is the book version of the testimonies which can be found on the "Breaking the Silence" website.
Breaking The Silence (BtS) (Hebrew: שוברים שתיקה Shovrim Shtika) is an Israeli Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), located in a western section of Jerusalem, established by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and veterans who collect and provide testimonies about their military service in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem since the Second Intifada, giving serving and discharged Israeli personnel and reservists a platform to confidentially describe their experience in the Israeli-occupied territories. J.J. Goldberg described it in The Forward as a "left-wing soldiers' protest organization".
The organization's stated mission is to 'break the silence' of IDF soldiers who return to civilian life in Israel and "discover the gap between the reality which they encountered in the [occupied] territories, and the silence which they encounter at home". Since 2004, Breaking the Silence has run a testimonies collection project called "Soldiers Speak Out". They have collected several hundred testimonies from "those who have, during their service in the IDF, the Border Guard, and the Security Forces, played a role in the Occupied Territories". By publishing soldiers' accounts, Breaking the Silence hopes to "force Israeli society to address the reality which it created" and face the truth about "abuse towards Palestinians, looting, and destruction of property" that is familiar to soldiers.
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