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Soldiering Under Occupation
Processes of Numbing among Israeli Soldiers in the Al-Aqsa Intifada
168 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-0-85745-956-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2013)
ISBN 978-1-78238-228-7 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (July 2013)
eISBN 978-0-85745-957-2 eBook
“…the study is exemplary, and its contribution should be well received. [It] is a valuable addition to the anthropology of the military as it intersects with the anthropology of morality, as well as to Israel- and Middle Eastern studies. The text is well written and gives a clear, balanced and sympathetic picture of the conditions Israeli soldiers endured in the Al-Aqsa Intifada.” · Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale
“This is an excellent book that weaves ethnographic data, interpretation, and theory in an impressive manner. It deals with a subject that has received almost no scholarly attention: the morality of soldiers ‘on the ground.’ Clearly written and coherently argued, it offers a fresh and new perspective on the military and the new wars.” · Eyal Ben-Ari, Hebrew University
Often, violent behavior or harassment from a soldier is dismissed by the military as unacceptable acts by individuals termed, “rotten apples.” In this study, the author argues that this dismissal is unsatisfactory and that there is an urgent need to look at the (mis)behavior of soldiers from a structural point of view. When soldiers serve as an occupational force, they find themselves in a particular situation influenced by structural circumstances that heavily influence their behavior and moral decision-making. This study focuses on young Israeli men and their experiences as combat soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), particularly those who served in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (OPT) during the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” which broke out in 2000. In describing the soldiers’ circumstances, especially focusing on space, the study shows how processes of numbing on different levels influence the (moral) behavior of these soldiers.
Erella Grassiani is currently Lecturer in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the University of Amsterdam. Her work focuses on military and security issues in Israel.