Breaking the Silence

Many Israelis have no idea what life is like in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories) and what the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) aka IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) do in their name.

Tourists and Israelis who never step foot beyond the Green Line might be able to maintain the deception of a “normal life” but even that ruse is growing thin.   “Elusive Line Defines Lives in Israel and the West Bank.”

Since Israeli politics focus on the future of occupied territory, the Green Line remains the single most salient fact of Israeli life. It’s a bit like sex in Victorian society: crucial and repressed.

There are Israeli military men and women who are breaking the silence.   Their testimonies are chilling.  In 2010, Breaking the Silence issued a report that included the testimony of 50 women veterans of the Occupation.

The report “indicates how violence was deeply rooted in the daily routine,” according to an article in Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel’s most widely-read newspapers, full of disturbing quotes from the women. One who served at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza explained that “there was a procedure in which before you release a Palestinian back into the Strip — you take him inside the tent and beat him. … together with the commanders.”

And listento this young Israeli soldier talk about his experience in the OPT.

I personally know a young American who volunteered to serve as an IDF soldier.  Will he share with me his experiences or the idealized propaganda that the military inoculates their service men and women?   In either case, I know that his service has changed him forever.

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