Breaking Ranks: Refusing to Serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Breaking Ranks: Refusing to Serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

by Ronit Chacham
     
 

In a series of moving and provocative conversations, nine members of the Israeli Defense Force tell why they disobeyed their commanders' orders to serve in the West Bank and Gaza. The "refuseniks" describe their risky moral decision against the background of what is perhaps the most volatile conflict in the world today: the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Their…  See more details below

Overview

In a series of moving and provocative conversations, nine members of the Israeli Defense Force tell why they disobeyed their commanders' orders to serve in the West Bank and Gaza. The "refuseniks" describe their risky moral decision against the background of what is perhaps the most volatile conflict in the world today: the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Their individual choices and their collective activism have generated intense debate in Israel and in the international community, from the leading Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and the Israeli High Court to a segment on 60 Minutes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Military service is an integral part of life in Israel: both men and women serve in the Israel Defense Forces; devotion to the country's survival is a given. So disobeying an order is a remarkable action-one discussed in depth here by nine "refuseniks," Israeli soldiers (all officers) who refused to serve in the Occupied Territories. They tell Chacham, an Israeli cultural critic and fiction writer, about their upbringings, their crises of conscience, the mistreatment of Palestinians by themselves and others ("Our job was giving the Palestinians a hard time," says one), their attempt to reconcile support for Palestinian rights with devotion to their homeland, their refusals to serve and the consequences. "When you're there [in the territories], you're committing crimes whether you like it or not....I'm not political," says one. "I speak from personal experience when I say I can't stand it anymore." Anyone trying to understand why these men have taken the action they have will be moved by their thoughtfulness and articulateness. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Why would an Israeli soldier refuse to serve Israel in the occupied territories or, more incredibly, instead protect Palestinians? By considering this question, Chacham, an Israeli cultural critic living in Jerusalem, offers a new perspective on some entrenched ideas about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about Zionism. Asking whether Israel, too, bears responsibility for the escalating violence, Chacham documents the testimonies of nine courageous Israeli soldiers, members of a movement called Ometz le Sarev (Courage To Refuse), or the refuseniks, as they are commonly known today. The soldiers speak out on how Israel consistently defies the Geneva Conventions on occupation, how Sharon's politics fuel Palestinian fire, and how basic human rights are violated daily. His interviews explore the social and political settings within which they operate and discuss reactions to their activist work. Though controversial, this book is essential for a well-rounded understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Zionism. Strongly recommended for academic or public libraries.-Ethan P. Pullman, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Middle East Journal 2004

"Ronit Chacham's Breaking Ranks rise[es] to the level of the literature of testimony, the literature that stays news forever, that will not allow injustice to be forgotten, that records what the victums themselves cannot record ... the Isareli voices, aided by a sense of detachment, takes us to the heart of the Palestinian experience; they bombard our senses with rich, sensory detail, the images of brutality and oppression stay embedded in our memory."

Publishers Weekly 2003

The Critic's Credo: Breaking Ranks
May 1, 2003

Military service is an integral part of life in Israel: both men and women serve in the Israel Defense Forces; devotion to the country's survival is a given. So disobeying an order is a remarkable action—one discussed in depth here by nine "refuseniks," Israeli soldiers (all officers) who refused to serve in the Occupied Territories. They tell Chacham, an Israeli cultural critic and fiction writer, about their upbringings, their crises of conscience, the mistreatment of Palestinians by themselves and others ("Our job was giving the Palestinians a hard time," says one), their attempt to reconcile support for Palestinian rights with devotion to their homeland, their refusals to serve and the consequences. "When you're there [in the territories], you're committing crimes whether you like it or not....I'm not political," says one. "I speak from personal experience when I say I can't stand it anymore." Anyone trying to understand why these men have taken the action they have will be moved by their thoughtfulness and articulateness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590510438
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
05/28/2003
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Ronit Chacham

Ronit Chacham, a native of Israel currently living in Jerusalem, is a widely published cultural critic who contributes regularly to news magazines in Israel. She is also the author of numerous works of fiction, including children's books, short stories, and plays.

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