Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010

The problem with books like "Our Harsh Logic" is that they're fuel for the fire.  The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been going on for generations and the presentation of these testimonies without adequate context only enrages those who know little about what's going on in the Middle East or have a stake in playing the 'victimhood' card.  There is little doubt that Israel sits in a position few, if any, find enviable.  Their policies often make more enemies than friends, but to rashly judge all their positions and put them in the camp of 'imperialists' or 'zionists' is too easy and accommodating for those with ulterior motives.  This is a book that is solely based on testimony from soldiers who more often than not participated in the activities they are describing and only after felt remorse.  This says more about the culture of the military than it does about Israel.  Imagine a book based on the US intervention/occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Soviet invasion/occupation of Afghanistan, or the US war in Vietnam told solely from those who witnessed abuse and atrocities.  Would that be a fair depiction of the actions of any of these nations in their respective war zones?  Hardly.  And while the previously mentioned conflicts lasted for around a decade, Israeli soldiers have lived with terror and violence for generations, as have their Palestinian neighbors.  There's no question that abuse takes place on a daily basis when you give teenagers and young adults weapons that can readily be used to kill and maim, especially as they're growing up in an environment where each side demonizes the other.  Highlighting that abuse is pointless without adequate context and analysis.  Thus there is nothing new or original among the pages of this book for those familiar with the institution of the military (which seems to cover things up on a regular basis, only to be discovered for their lies sooner or later) or the situation in the Middle East as it stands today.  It's a tragic situation that few have the patience to attempt to understand, where generational animosities plays themselves out on a regular basis and perpetuate violence and hatred.

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