Rights watchdog lashes out at Israeli army for “insulting people’s intelligence”

August 17, 2010

A rights watchdog on Tuesday refuted Israeli army claims that photos posted by a woman soldier were an anomaly, saying that the Facebook pictures depicting Israeli soldiers alongside handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees represented the norm, not the exception, in IDF conduct.

Breaking the Silence, an organization that collects testimonies of Israeli soldiers on alleged abuse of Palestinians in the territories, thus refutes an official army statement claiming the opposite, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

The group said in a statement that while the army claimed to be “shocked” by Abergil’s photos, it did not represent “the ugly behaviour of just one person.”

The statement released in a Facebook page called “The Norm that IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu Denies,” also included several graphic photos depicting soldiers posing next to the bodies of suspected militants as well as next to handcuffed detainees.

In the Facebook page, Breaking the Silence said that the norms the photos allegedly expose were the” necessary result of a long-term military control of a civilian population.”

“We suggest that the IDF (Israeli army) spokesman not insult the intelligence of the Israeli public, and clarify that it is a widespread phenomenon, not an aberration caused by a single soldier,” the statement said, adding that the enclosed photos were taken at several times during the last ten years and represented only a “preliminary batch.”

Eden Abergil, the soldier whose Facebook photos caused a worldwide media storm, said she still could not see what was wrong with the images, claiming the “pictures were taken in good faith, there was no statement in them,” Haaretz reported.

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.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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