It is an open secret that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank mocks the notion of Israel being a democracy. Well, unless you are a majority member of the Knesset, of course, or you’re on AIPAC’s payroll, then that would be outrageous news to you.
Criticism of the occupation can be heard from all sorts of people around the world, civilian and official, more notably from the International Court of Justice in The Hague to the World Bank and the UN General Assembly. The generic answer to the allegations usually take the “well, you don’t know what it’s like to be threatened by the Arab world” or the “we won’t let THAT happen to us again” approach, alluding to the Shoa, aka the Holocaust. In summary, people who protest against the occupation of Palestinian lands are labelled outsiders talking from a high horse, or as even outright hating Jews in general.
So it’s particularly refreshing to hear detailed, vivid reports of first-hand experience from people who should really know best: Israeli soldiers occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from 2000-2010. They are young kids doing their military service in order to grant Jewish settlers their boundless freedoms inside and around the settlements, which apparently means humiliating and brutalizing the Palestinian population for little or no reason at all, just to make sure they don’t start to feel at home on their land… or make it past the age of 40. So much most of us know already. But what that looks like in your everyday routine as a soldier of the “Israel Defense Force” comes to life in verbatim interviews with soldiers looking back at their service. If you’re going to believe anyone, it’s probably the people who
committed the murders took part in the operations and pulled the triggers, beat the snot out of elderly villagers and just simply made regular, harmless people’s lives miserable. Because it would be too boring a day without. Take their word for it.
The NY Review of Books article is here.
An advance version of the book of interviews can be found here (pdf).
Read a (relatively harmless) excerpt now…