Ex-Israeli soldier 'Eden', whose Facebook photo features Palestinian prisoners.
A former Israeli soldier's Facebook page has provoked outrage after she posted pictures of herself on duty posing next to handcuffed, blindfolded Palestinians.
The photographs are part of a Facebook photo album entitled: The Army – the best years of my life, posted by a young woman named Eden, from Ashdod, who completed compulsory military service last year.
The pictures, swiftly circulated by Israeli bloggers, include one in which Eden sits on concrete blocks next to a blindfolded Palestinian detainee. A comment posted beneath the picture by one of Eden's friends, notes: "You look sexiest here," to which the former soldier replies: "Yeah I know … I wonder if he's got Facebook! I have to tag him in the picture!"
The Israeli army issued a statement describing Eden's Facebook posts as "shameful behaviour". Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, captain Arye Shalicar added: "It was just something very foolish and stupid – and I hoped there wouldn't be any media interest."
Ishai Menuchin, executive director of human rights group The Public Committee against Torture in Israel, said: "These cruel pictures reflect Israel's ongoing objectification of Palestinians and complete disregard of their humanity and of their human rights, and especially their right to privacy."
Menuchin ascribes Eden's behaviour to "an Israeli military culture that brings young Israelis to systematically violate the basic rights of Palestinians".
Shalicar notes that, as Eden has been discharged and the pictures do not contain information of a sensitive military nature it is unlikely that action will be taken against her.
Eden has changed her Facebook privacy settings, so that her page can now only be viewed by friends. However, thanks to bloggers who captured a screen image of the page, the photographs can still be viewed online.
Israeli soldier who posed on Facebook with Palestinian prisoners defends herself
An Israeli woman soldier who provoked outrage by posting pictures on Facebook of her posing in front of blindfolded Palestinian prisoners has claimed the photos have been blown out of proportion.
By Mark Weiss, Jerusalem
Published: 1:17PM BST 17 Aug 2010
She replied: “Ha ha, what a day that was, see how he completes my picture. I wonder if he’s on Facebook! I have to tag him in the photo!”
Her behaviour was condemned by the Israeli military as “shameful, base and crude.” As Miss Aberjil completed her mandatory military service last year the army cannot take disciplinary measures, but have stripped her of her rank and decided that she will not be called up for reserve duty.
Palestinian officials and Israeli human rights groups also condemned her behaviour, saying it was symptomatic of the Israeli occupation.
Interviewed on Israel army radio Tuesday morning, Miss Aberjil claimed the affair had been blown out of all proportion and said the images were not meant to degrade Palestinians.
“I’m very disappointed with the Israel Defence Forces,” she said. “The army is ungrateful. I risked my life, got injured, I was a model soldier, and now I wish I never served in this army.”
Miss Aberjil said that she had received death threats from all over the world since attention was drawn to the pictures.
Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said the images were typical of the treatment received by Palestinian prisoners captured by Israeli forces.
“All aspects of occupation are humiliating,” he said. “We call on the international organisations, starting with the UN, to work hard to end the occupation, because it is the source of humiliation for Palestinians and a source of corruption for the Israelis.”
Jawad Amawi, director of legal affairs for the Palestinian Authority’s prisoners ministry, threatened to take legal action. “This is a breach of international law, clearly a breach of human rights,” he said.
Israeli human rights groups also condemned the pictures.