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

Ronit Chacham

"Anyone trying to understand why these men have taken the action they have will be moved by their thoughtfulness and articulateness." --Publishers Weekly

In a series of moving and provocative conversations, nine members of the Israeli Defense Force tell why they refused 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 the international community, from the leading Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz to a segment on 60 Minutes.

In a sociocultural mosaic of the Refusenik movement and the political context in which it arose, these men describe their individual family backgrounds and beliefs. Dedicated to the welfare of their country and its cultural heritage, they outline their concerns for the future of Israel. As they tell their stories of personal struggle, they also raise the disturbing and highly controversial issue of human rights abuses in the occupied territories.

These personal accounts offer new perspectives on some entrenched idead about the situation in the Middle East. The testimony in Breaking Ranks is essential background for a full understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this time of grave crisis in the Middle East, with no solution in sight to repair the utter collapse of the peace process, these voices offer a message of hope in their commitment to their society and nation.

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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