Arab world 'disgusted' by IDF Facebook photos
Syrian press: Soldier's pictures with bound Palestinians 'express sadist culture of occupation'
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."
Eden Abergil posing with Palestinians
Following the global attention she received, which included reports on CNN, Sky News, and the British Guardian, Abergil told Ynet she was sorry if anyone was hurt.
"I actually took care of the detainees," she said Monday. "The army let me down. I risked my life and was wounded…and now I’m sorry that I served in such army."
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."