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Facebook images of Palestinian detainees caused Global media storm

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.
Arab world expressed outrage at the publication of the controversial Facebook photos.
'I actually took care of the detainees' says Eden Abergil, the ex-soldier who caused worldwide stir. "we always treated the Palestinians well,We never cursed, spat on or touched them. The few photos I put on Facebook are innocent and part of my military experience. People blew it way out of proportion."

Published: 08.17.10

Eden, the ex-soldier from Ashdod who posted photos from her time in the IDF posing next to cuffed Palestinian detainees on her Facebook page is shocked by the backlash the incident prompted.
"I received death threats from all over the world on Facebook," she told Ynet. "I'm sorry if anyone got offended, I actually took care of the detainees. The IDF has let me down profoundly. I wish I never served in such an army."

The photos were taken in the Gaza Strip where Eden was stationed during her IDF service. They caused a stir around the world and were reported on by CNN, Sky News as well as British newspapers such as the Guardian.
"It's unbelievable that so many people are talking about me," she said. "I find it astounding that there are so many people who want peace and I'm the one ruining it for them. I got loads of death threats, I'm not scared, I know I didn't do anything wrong."

The IDF Spokesman's Unit issued a statement in response to the incident describing the ex-soldier's behavior as shameful. Eden claimed that she was told by the IDF she will not be called for reserve duty and will be stripped of her ranks. "I'm very disappointed with the IDF, 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."

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."

Eden explained the IDF's response by saying that "the army is making the soldiers look bad and the country look great so that Obama won't get pissed off. As far as I'm concerned we're not even an independent state, people are afraid of just pictures. I'm sorry this is the way my country is."

The ex-soldier, who had her picture taken while posing near cuffed and blindfolded detainees said that "we always treated the Palestinians well, we always provided them with food and drink and would laugh with them. We never cursed, spat on or touched them. The few photos I put on Facebook are part of my military experience, it was innocent. People blew it way out of proportion. I have respect for all human beings."

"I still don't understand what's wrong," Eden 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."

Jawad Amawi, director of legal affairs for the Palestinian Authority's prisoners ministry threatened to take legal action against the ex-soldier and said: "She did this act while she was in military service, so in retrospect the Israeli occupation is responsible for her acts. This is a breach of international law, clearly a breach of human rights."

Arab media outlets expressed outrage Tuesday over at the publication of controversial Facebook photos showing an IDF female soldier posing next to cuffed and blindfolded Palestinians.

Al-Jazeera said the soldier, Eden Abergil, "intentionally degraded the detainees on Facebook," while the Syrian press condemned "the sadist culture of the occupation army."

A Palestinian lawyer from east Jerusalem told Al-Arabiya network that he planned to appeal to human rights organizations abroad and demand an international investigation into the photos.

"I wonder how it is that the soldier's Facebook page was open for a month on a social networking site boasting 500 million users, yet the Israeli army never knew about it," he said, asking to remain anonymous.

The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel also said it would demand a probe.

"The pictures are disgusting," said one of the center's attorneys, Hanin Noema. "These pictures are immoral, inhuman, and illegal. The Israeli army is a type of school for soldiers of this sort."

Many Arab press agencies also quoted the Palestinian Authority's response to the photos.

"These are degrading pictures highlight the mentality of the occupation, which boasts about belittling Palestinians," President Mahmoud Abbas' government was quoted as saying.

Syrian websites also carried the photos, under the heading: "An expression of the sadist culture of the occupation army: An Israeli soldier takes pleasure in the torture of Palestinians on Facebook."

The Lebanese As-Safir reported, "The derision and oppression of Palestinians has become new show-off material by occupation soldiers social networking sites."

The IDF Spokesperson's Office said the army would punish any soldier who behaves inappropriately towards detainees and suspects.

"Aside from the punishment, the soldiers and commanders are educated daily, through training and orders, on the difference between what is permitted and what is not, and between what fits with IDF standards and what doesn't," the army said in a statement.

"Most of these incidents are investigated as a result of commanders' awareness and not because of surprise inspections or outside information.",7340,L-3938504,00.html,7340,L-3938049,00.html

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Added: Aug-17-2010 
By: aydeo
Tags: Facebook images, Palestinian detainees, Global media storm
Marked as: repost
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