IDF Facebook poster denies wrongdoing

"I still don't understand what I did wrong," former soldier says.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 17, 2010 09:03
2 minute read.
Former IDF soldier posted photos of her with detained Palestinians.

Facebook detained Palestinians 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Eden Abergil, the reserve IDF officer who posted photographs from her compulsory service on Facebook, showing her with detained Palestinians who were handcuffed and blindfolded, said Tuesday in an interview with Army Radio "I still don't understand what I did wrong.

"There's no violence or intention to humiliate anyone in the pictures. I just had my picture taken with them in the background. I did it out of excitement, to remember the experience. It wasn't a political statement or any kind of statement. It was about remembering my experiences in the army and that's it."

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Photos uploaded to Facebook showing the former IDF female soldier posing with detained Palestinians are "shameless," the IDF Spokesman said Monday.

"This is shameless behavior by the soldier," a statement read. "In light of the fact that she was discharged last year, all of the details have been turned over to commanders for further attention."

Abergil was recently discharged from the IDF and posted the photos, apparently from 2008, in an album she called "Army...best time of my life :)."

The pictures were posted at the beginning of the month, showing Eden posing in various ways near the detainees. At first the photos were made pubic in her profile, allowing members who are not "friends" with Eden to view them, but they were either taken down or marked as private on Monday afternoon.

Many were shocked at the images while some found them amusing. "You're super sexy here," one of her friends wrote. Eden responded, "Yeah I know, 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! Ha ha."

"These cruel pictures reflect Israel's ongoing objectification of Palestinians and a complete disregard of their humanity and of their human rights and especially their right for privacy," said Ishay Menuchin, Executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. "This soldier's behavior is a result of an Israeli military culture that brings young Israelis to systematically violate the basic rights of Palestinians. We call on the military authorities to immediately stop this kind of conduct and to educate soldiers how to treat the Palestinian citizens as equals".

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and Kadima MK Otniel Schneller also responded to the photos saying, that at times the responsibility of the IDF commanding officer requires, for security reasons, the binding of detainees and the preserving of the captives' dignity, welfare and health. The pictures posted on Facebook, are a blow to values, which humiliates the detainee as well as the soldier.

Schneler said that revoking the ranks of the reserve officer should be considered and that all soldiers and officers must understand, that the IDF's strength lies not only in weapons and training, but in its morals and values which distinguishes it from other armies in the world.


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