'I Don't See Anything Wrong With Facebook Images of Palestinian Detainees'

Former IDF soldier's pictures, depicting her smiling next to Palestinian prisoners with their hands bound and their eyes covered, caused a global media storm.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

There's nothing wrong with the picture I uploaded to Facebook depicting handcuffed Palestinian detainees, a former Israel Defense Forces soldier told Army Radio on Tuesday, after causing a media storm over the controversial images.

Photograph with Palestinian prisoner uploaded by former IDF soldier to Facebook.

Photographs uploaded by Eden Abergil from Ashdod and labeled "IDF – the best time of my life," and made public earlier in the week depicted her smiling next to Palestinian prisoners with their hands bound and their eyes covered.

A comment attached to one of the photos of the soldier smiling in front of two blindfold men and posted by one of Abergil's friends read "That looks really sexy for you," with Abergil's response reading: "I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I'll have to tag him in the photo."

Because Abergil was discharged a year ago, the army has no power to prevent her from publicizing the photographs.

Photo posted by a former IDF soldier on Facebook.

The pictures have since been removed from the site - but not before being duplicated across the web by a variety of bloggers and news sites.

"I still don't understand what's wrong," Abergil told Army Radio on Thursday, saying that the "pictures were taken in good will, there was no statement in them."

The former IDF soldier said the pictures, which she said were of Gazans who had been arrested while attempting to crossover into Israel, were meant to depict a "military experience," and were not intended to injure the detainees.

During the Army Radio interview, Abergil repeatedly said that it had never occurred to her that "the picture would be problematic," asking interviewer Ilana Dayan whether the media asked for detainees permission when they film them.

Referring to the possibility that the images could injure Israel's image in the international arena, Abergil said: "We will always be attacked. Whatever we do, we will always be attacked."

On Monday, the IDF spokesman issued its response to the photographs, saying that "on the face of it the behavior exhibited by the soldier is base and crude."

The head of the Public Committee Against Torture, Ishai Menuchin, also commented, saying that "these terrible photographs reflect a norm in the way Palestinians are viewed, as an object and not as humans. It is an attitude that ignores their feelings as humans and their individual rights."

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