Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories
Book talk by co-founder and co-director of Breaking the Silence, Yehuda Shaul
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) is still held by many to be “the most moral army in the world,” and its actions in the Occupied Territories are—it claims—first and foremost aimed at protecting the country from terror. But the soldiers themselves tell a different story. Talking frankly about what they did, what they were told to do, and what they saw, these young Israelis draw a broad and powerful portrait of an ostensibly defensive military program that in fact serves an offensive agenda. As the soldiers show in vivid and immediate detail, even the key terms of IDF policy—“preventing terror,” “separating populations,” “preserving normal Palestinian life,” and “law enforcement”— in fact mean precisely the opposite on the ground: spreading fear and subjugation, accelerating Jewish settlement and the acquisition of Palestinian land, crippling all political and social life, and ultimately thwarting any possibility of independence.
Breaking the Silence, one of Israel’s most internationally lauded NGOs, was established in Jerusalem in 2004 by Israel Defense Forces veterans to document testimonies of Israeli soldiers who have served in the Occupied Territories. Now, in a monumental book gathering a decades' worth of collective testimony - Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000 - 2010 - the soldiers speak out.
YEHUDA SHAUL was born and raised in Jerusalem in an ultra-Orthodox family. After graduating from a yeshiva high school in a Jewish settlement on the West Bank, Yehuda served in the IDF achieving the rank of commander and platoon sergeant and was posted in the Palestinian towns of Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah on the West Bank.
In 2004, Yehuda founded Breaking the Silence with a group of fellow veterans; he serves as the organization’s Co-Director and Foreign Relations Officer.