Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'I love the Socialists'

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Poland marks 75 years since German invasion of WWII

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

middle east - do not use

IDF soldier’s prisoner photos are the ‘tip of the iceberg’

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Gaëlle LE ROUX

Latest update : 2010-08-19

Human rights association “Breaking the Silence” has published more pictures of Israeli soldiers posing with shackled and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners, pointing out that the latest scandal is not an isolated incident.

Photos of an Israeli army officer posing with Palestinian prisoners can hardly be shocking to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), according to human rights association Breaking the Silence (BtS), which says such pictures are taken almost every day.

Former IDF Lieutenant Eden Abargil made headlines round the world Monday after publishing pictures of her posing with blindfolded and shackled Palestinian prisoners on Facebook. The IDF insists the pictures are an isolated incident.

Not so, according to BtS, an organisation of former IDF soldiers and veterans who collected and provided testimonies about their military experience in the occupied territories during the Second Intifada.


The association on Tuesday published a number of other pictures showing other IDF soldiers posing with blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinians on its Facebook page.
 

BtS director Yehuda Shaul told FRANCE 24 he was shocked by the IDF’s claim that the pictures portrayed an isolated incident.
 
“We have been showing these kinds of pictures for the past six years,” he says. “We even put on an exhibition in Tel Aviv in 2004.”
 
Default attitude
 
Breaking the Silence has been interviewing former IDF soldiers since 2000 (730 so far), and has collected “at least a thousand” pictures in that period, pictures Yehuda Shaul insists reflect the default behaviour and attitude of IDF soldiers in the occupied territories.
 
“What the reactions of the last few days prove is that no one is aware of the realities of the occupation,” he says. “Taking a picture of themselves in front of a Palestinian prisoner is routine for these soldiers. This kind of behaviour demonstrates the way these people are broken down when they join the army.”
 
Breaking the Silence gained worldwide recognition following the January 2009 “Cast Lead” assault on Gaza, when they published an account of the attack from the perspective of 25 IDF soldiers involved. One soldier reported his commander saying that “if we see something suspect and shoot, better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy.”
 
Perhaps this explains Eden Abargil’s ambivalence to the scandal her pictures have sparked. On Tuesday she told Israeli Army Radio: “What's wrong with that? I don't understand. There was no violence in the pictures.”
 
Immaturity of a conscript army
 
French academic and specialist in contemporary conflicts Pascal le Pautremat told FRANCE24 that this attitude has two origins: the relative youth of Israeli soldiers and the fear generated by a constant threat, which is particular to the Israeli state.
 
“The IDF is manned by conscripts,” he says. “Often these young people have neither the maturity nor the inclination to reflect on their actions.”
 
Israel imposes compulsory military service at 18, which lasts three years for men and 22 months for women.
 
After completing their basic training, IDF recruits go to the remains of the Masada fortress for their swearing-in ceremony. Masada is the site of a siege in 73 AD, where hundreds of Jews chose death over surrender to the Roman army which was laying siege.
 
“It is the symbol of national heroism in the face of adversity,” says Mr le Pautremat. “These ruins have become a symbol, but also it is complex for many Israelis, in that throughout their history they have felt perpetually threatened.”
 
Which is exactly what Eden Abargil said in her interview with Israeli Army Radio: “People will always find something to say against ‘Eretz Israel’ [the land of Israel] – we are not a people with many friends and people will attack us for the slightest thing.”
 

 

Date created : 2010-08-18

  • ISRAEL

    Facebook photo soldier says 'I did nothing wrong'

    Read more

  • ON THE OBSERVERS

    Israeli soldier poses for Facebook before bound Palestinians

    Read more

COMMENT(S)