More photos of captured prisoners cause outcry

More photos of captured prisoners cause outcry
# 18 August 2010 22:28 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The integrity of the Israel Defence Forces has again been called into question following the release of more photographs showing Israeli soldiers posing alongside bound and gagged Palestinians, APA reports quoting “The Sydney Morning Herald”.
The release of the pictures by the prominent Israeli advocacy group Breaking The Silence follows the publication on Monday of photographs uploaded to Facebook by a former Israeli soldier Eden Abergil that show her smiling next to blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.
Sparking outrage both at home and abroad, Ms Abergil was condemned by IDF commanders for "her disgraceful behaviour". They described her photographs as "shameful".
"The behaviour displayed by this former soldier is not only disgraceful but in total opposition to the values and ethical code ... which is the foundation of the IDF," said an IDF spokesman Captain Barak Raz.
"Any soldier who partakes in such an activity directly violates the IDF’s code of conduct and will be dealt with severely," Captain Raz said.
In response to the IDF’s criticism, Breaking The Silence, an organisation that documents the abuse of Palestinians by IDF soldiers, said Ms Abergil’s photographs were the norm rather than an exception.
"We suggest to the IDF spokesman not to insult the intelligence of the Israeli public, and to clarify that this is a widespread phenomenon, not an unusual incident by one soldier," it said.
Establishing its own Facebook page showing pictures of Israeli soldiers taken over the last 10 years, Breaking The Silence said the photographs were only the first collection.
"Taking real responsibility is not blaming the lowest ranks, but honestly confronting with the deteriorated moral state of the senior commanders responsible."
In an interview with the Herald, Breaking The Silence co-founder Yehuda Shaul said the photographs were "just the beginning".
"We are aware of many thousands of similar photographs taken by Israeli soldiers while they are serving their military service. People need to know this is considered normal behaviour, not a single example of bad behaviour. It is commonplace," Mr Shaul said.
"Many Israeli soldiers spend much of their three years military service in the West Bank, manning checkpoints, conducting security operations against Palestinians, and this is the sort of thing they see every day.
"When you become used to this sort of behaviour, it does not seem a bad thing to photograph it."
According to Khalida Jarar, a Palestinian politician and director of Addameer, the Palestinian prisoner support and human rights association, there were many more violations and abuses of Palestinians, without photographs.
"The soldiers take these pictures to show they can do anything they want to Palestinians."
In a statement to the Herald regarding the pictures released by Breaking The Silence, the IDF spokesman’s unit said any soldier who acted inappropriately towards suspects would face investigation.
"In addition to meting out punishment for inappropriate behaviour, the IDF takes pains ... to stress to soldiers and commanders alike the difference between right and wrong and between those actions that conform to the IDF code of ethics and those that violate it," the spokesman said.
"The IDF and its officers at all ranks make every effort to prevent anomalous incidents such as these from recurring."
#
#

THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED