Synopses & Reviews
Israeli soldiers speak out for the first time about the truth of the Palestinian occupation, in "one of the most important books on Israel/Palestine in this generation" (The New York Review of Books)
The very name of the Israel Defense Forces—which many Israelis speak of as "the most moral army in the world"—suggests that its primary mission is the defense of the country's territory. Indeed, both internationally and within Israel, support for the occupation of Palestinian territory rests on the belief that the army's actions and presence in the West Bank and Gaza are essentially defensive and responsive, aimed at protecting the country from terror.
But Israeli soldiers themselves tell a profoundly different story. In this landmark work, which includes hundreds of soldiers' testimonies collected over a decade, what emerges is a broad policy that is anything but defensive. In their own words, the soldiers reveal in human and vivid detail how the key planks of the army's ostensibly protective program—"prevention of terror," "separation of populations," "preservation of the fabric of life," and "law enforcement"—have in fact served to accelerate acquisition of Palestinian land, cripple all normal political and social life, and ultimately thwart the possibility of independence.
The many soldiers who have spoken out have taken aim at a silence of complicity, both within Israel and in the wider world, that perpetuates the justification for occupation. In the process, they have created 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.
"Random brutality, Kafkaesque bureaucracy, hatred, and dehumanization: that's the face of Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza as described by disaffected soldiers in this troubling oral history. These interviews with 106 anonymous IDF veterans who served in the occupied territories, gathered by the Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence, tell of indiscriminate mass arrests and beatings; of random searches, trashings, and seizures of Palestinian homes; of arbitrary military regulations, permits, and checkpoints that make everyday life for Palestinians a gauntlet of harassment and humiliation. Interviewees describe farmers weeping as their orchards are bulldozed to accommodate separation barriers and IDF troops taking potshots at passersby, blowing a woman to bits to gain entry into her home, and murdering unarmed Palestinian policemen in cold blood. It's a tapestry of chaos, but the editors see in it the 'harsh logic' of an Israeli policy designed to intimidate and dispossess the Palestinians. The book is a hard read in every way; the barely edited interviews are confusing and are presented without journalistic context or verification. Still, it conveys a truth about the inescapable ugliness of Israel's military rule over its neighbors. 20 photos, 3 maps. Agent: Geri Thoma, Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The soldiers in Our Harsh Logic
have come forward to rouse the conscience of their fellow citizens....Anyone who thinks the IDF limits itself to confiscating weapons and punishing terrorists when patrolling the occupied territories would do well to consider what its own members say.”—The Nation
“Random brutality, Kafkaesque bureaucracy, hatred, and dehumanization: thats the face of Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza as described by disaffected soldiers in this troubling oral history....Our Harsh Logic conveys a truth about the inescapable ugliness of Israels military rule over its neighbors.”—Publishers Weekly
“Humanitarian activists and opponents of illegal Israeli settlements will find much ammunition in these pages.”—Kirkus Reviews
“One of the most important books on Israel/Palestine in this generation.”—The New York Review of Books
Support for Israels occupation of Palestinian territory—both internationally and within Israel itself—rests on the belief that the Israeli armys 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 armys 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 worlds most vexed conflicts.
About the Author
Breaking the Silence, one of Israel's most internationally lauded NGOs, was established in Jerusalem in 2004 by Israel Defense Forces veterans to document the testimonies of Israeli soldiers who have served in the occupied territories.