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on 20 July 2010
Gideon Levy became well known for his weekly 'twilight zone' articles in the Israeli paper Haaretz. Levy himself has developed into an ardent critic of Israeli policies and their inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. Yet Levy was born the son of two Holocaust survivors and grew up accepting the 'traditional Israeli narratives', that the nation was constantly under threat of another imminent holocaust. Indeed Levy served in the Israeli Defence Forces in the 1970's. It was only in the 1980's when Levy began working as a journalist for Haaretz in the West Bank that he was exposed to the Palestinian occupation and its harsh realties.

This book is a selection of those haaretz articles covering the period between 2006 and February 2009. Re-reading these early articles it is shocking that little has changed since 2006, the world has not forced Israel to end the blockade of Gaza that is causing a serious humanitarian disaster for Gazans, preventing freedom of movement, and imports and exports are banned by Israel leading to the collapse of the Gaza economy. Likewise, as Levy notes 'Gaza is poorer and hungrier than ever before', attacks and killings by Israeli forces of Gazan civilians, including children have become routine. Other topics discussed include the fact that Israel prevents Israeli journalists from entering Gaza since 2006, although some foreign journalists still go there. Articles such as 'the most moral army in the world' focus on the Israeli incursion of Gaza in December 2008-January 2009 and how the killing of nearly 1,400 Palestinian civilians in 22 days is dismissed by Israeli propaganda, that also has the nerve to claim in response, to be 'the most moral army in the world'. All this occurs despite IDF accounts of atrocities in Gaza leaked by breaking the silence, Amnesty International accounts of the killings, and Human Rights Watch accounts that all lay the blame upon Israel and its use of disproportionate force and 'wanton destruction'.

Levy's book humanises the Palestinians (so often mis-represented as terrorists), their suffering is documented along with the madness of Israeli policies that are inhumane, unjust and according to Levy unsustainable. Levy seeks to awaken Israel and the world to this fact before its too late, but time is running out fast.
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on 29 August 2010
This short, though high-impact book contains forty articles written for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Levy is highly critical, savagely so, about Israel's aggression towards both the Palestinians and also Lebanon. He is scathing about the Israeli political class, but also about Israel's cultural and journalistic elite, whose silence and hypocrisy about events he finds especially sickening. His prose is direct - he is after all addressing his fellow citizens - and the picture he paints about what is happening is at times harrowing. Levy is equally scathing about those who are in power in Palestine and who claim to represent the best interests of the Palestinian people. Yes, this is a wholly depressing read, but strangely uplifting in the sense that if voices like Levy's can be heard in Israel there may be some hope after all.
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on 4 July 2010
Levy's book consists of a series of columns he wrote for the Haaretz newspaper between 2006, soon after the Israeli army withdrew from Gaza, and 2009, in the aftermath of operation 'Cast Lead'. The articles are presented as originally written and are apparently unedited. This gives a sense of immediacy as he reacts to each new instance of Israeli brutality but does lead to occasional repetition in the examples he chooses. Levy writes with passion about Palestinian suffering, mutilation and death at the hands of the IDF, noting the evident racism in the high value that body places on its soldiers' lives as opposed to its disregard for those of Gazan men, women and (particularly) children. He is ashamed of the actions of his fellow Israelis and deeply concerned at the brutalising effect the actions of politicians and army have on Israeli society as a whole.

If you are a critic of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians this book will deepen your sense of revulsion, as its style is unashamedly emotional. I doubt, however, whether it will convert many supporters of the Israeli government. This is a short book (less than 150 pages) and is easily read at one sitting given its powerful content and two or three page chapters.
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on 19 May 2011
Written by a self-described Israeli patriot this short book covers what happened in Gaza during the years 2006 to 2009 inclusively . Each essay-like chapter is dated to it`s one-day of narrative and covers an incident not only as it happens through the author`s eyes but also put into it`s historic perspective and context. The result of this is quite extraordinary in it`s depth and feeling of being close in each case to the Palestinian participants who are all named and detailed backgrounds are given.Surely it is unprecedented for a journalist from the opposition side to become so close to his subjects under some of the war conditions that prevail throughout these chapters in a seemingly endless recital.
A book I am glad to have purchased from Amazon and which has certainly enlightened me on many aspects of Israeli policy and pre-emptive actions towards the Gaza strip and it`s 1.5 million inhabitants. As Johann Hari says of the author Gideon Levy , he is perhaps the most heroic man in Israel today.
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on 8 August 2012
"The Punishment of Gaza" is a collection of forty shortish articles written by the brave and honourable Israeli journalist Gideon Levy. The focus of the articles is on the Israels continued aggression against the Gaza strip, despite having "withdrawn" in 2005, during the period from 2006 to summer 2009.

Levy tackles his subject in a wonderfully direct and principled manner, his anger is palpable and his scorn searing. It is hard to imagine a non-Israeli writing in this voice, though it is one that is totally justified.

The collection crescendos with Levy's articles on what is perhaps the most brutal and bloody concentration of violence against the Palestinian people since the formation of Israel in 1947-48. Levy doesnt mince his words on Cast Lead, and is scathing about the politicians who commissioned the slaughter, the army who executed it and the cheer leaders in the Israeli media who egged them on. These pieces dealing with operation "Cast Lead" and its aftermath are amongst the most powerfull, direct and urgent pieces within this collection.

In short this a fine collection of the thoughts of one Israeli journalist on the brutality of his countries behaviour with regard to the Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza. There are no doubt other books of a more analytical nature that give a fuller picture of the events covered by Levy, but they are unlikely to be approached by a writer with such an appetite for justice.

For readers interested in learning more about the Gaza strip I would recommend any of Sara Roys book such as Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza and Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Other Israeli writers that are well worth reading would include the late Tanya Reinhart (The Road Map to Nowhere) and Avi Shlaim (The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World).
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on 25 November 2012
Truly a wake up call for those of us that have too often believed everything the western media tell us. The world needs more Gideon Levy's.
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on 9 December 2010
In many ways this is a depressing book, because the abuse of the Palestinian population which it catalogues over a number of years continues and if anything worsens; but full marks and great admiration go to Gideon Levy for his courage in speaking out against his Zionist compatriots (and government) and to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz which was willing to publish his views.
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on 5 January 2014
Straight from the horses mouth.The right rhetoric of a racist state which indicates that there is nothing new under the sun,A people once once victims in turn become the oppressor.It has happened all through history.
Des Clark
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on 25 August 2013
From the Guardian:
"Gideon Levy has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defence Force, been threatened with being "beaten to a pulp" on the country's streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as "a security risk." This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done. Nearly every week for three decades, he has traveled to the Occupied Territories and described what he sees, plainly and without propaganda. "My modest mission," he says, "is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, `We didn't know.'"

And for that, many people want him silenced."

This is a book that every citizen of this world should be reading -- Especially Americans, since BILLIONS are sent to Israel each year to fund their military which continues the HORROR of illegal occupation, land seizure, and the murder of innocent civilian men, women, and children.

IfAmericansKnew.org is also a good place to see what's going on, along with [...]
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on 24 September 2010
With this book, Gideon Levy proves once and for all he is an Israeli hero. Israel needs more men like him, and the world should be supporting him.

To stand up to the current right-wing Israeli government that's killing Israel and destroying its international reputation takes courage. Courage very few would ever have. Gideon Levy does.

Gideon Levy was also correct in an interview with The Independent this week, when he says "Israel is totally isolated today, except for America".

America needs to stop its support of Israel, then lets see how fast their policies change towards the Palestinians.

This book is a must-read for anyone even remotely concerned about the Palestinians. That Israel was allowed to bomb the hell out of Gaza and kill thousands of Palestinians and was still backed by the United States is beyond disgusting. I'm ashamed to be an American every time I hear how the US government continues to back Israel.
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