Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our Harsh Logic: Inside Israel's Army

Michael Enright in conversation with Dana Golan, a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). 

She and many other former Israeli soldiers, say they feel betrayed by the harsh orders they were forced to carry out against the Palestinians. Others speak of the numbing inevitability of the callous tactics they used.

Ms. Golan is the former executive director of the Israeli NGO, Breaking the Silence, which compiled the stories of disillusioned Israeli soldiers in a new book called Our Harsh Logic.


The Second Palestinian Intifada claimed more than 4,000 lives between 2000 and 2005. Roughly three Palestinians died for every Israeli.

It was a brutal conflict, marred by suicide bombings and rocket attacks on one side, and deadly counter-strikes, indiscriminate raids and widespread repression on the other.

The World Bank estimates that after the four and half year conflict, Palestinians' average income dropped by more than a third, and unemployment hit 25 percent, forcing almost half of all Palestinians below the poverty line.

Tel Aviv's most important weapon in its war against Palestinian militants, was the Israeli Defence Forces.

The IDF is one of the most powerful, precise and well-trained armies in the world. It is tasked with upholding the four tenets of Israeli policy: stop terrorism; pursue separation of Israel from the Palestinian population; enforce Israeli law in the Territories and preserve the Palestinian "fabric of life".

All four tenets are supposed to be defensive and preventative, but for Israeli soldiers on the front lines, reality is far more complicated.

IDF soldiers cab do anything, and rationalize it as defending Israel. Mock arrests, endless checkpoints, human shields ... anything goes.

Many soldiers chafed at the callous tactics they were ordered to use.

No comments: