Storm over Israeli 'abuse' photos
A former Israeli soldier has sparked controversy after posting pictures of herself on Facebook posing with bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.
The photographs show Eden Abergil positioned provocatively with the men, prompting lurid comments from other users of the popular social networking site.
The pictures, which were uploaded into a folder entitled "Army - the best time of my life," and associated comments were discovered by bloggers, who circulated them on the internet on Monday.
Palestinians have long claimed that they are subject to humiliating and degrading treatmentwhile held in Israeli custody, but Israeli authorities have always rejected such allegations.
'What's wrong with that?'
In an Israeli radio interview on Tuesday, Abergil said she could not understand the outrage over the photographs.
"What's wrong with that? I don't understand," she told Israel's Army Radio. "There was no violence in the pictures, there was no disrespect."
Abergil claimed that she was photographed "innocently," that the blindfolded and cuffed Palestinians were merely "in the background" of the photographs, and that the images had no "political significance."
The Israeli military has sought to distance itself from the controversy, saying Abergil is no longer a serving member of the country's army. "This is shameless behaviour by the soldier," a military spokesman told Al Jazeera.
The army also posted a video on YouTube calling the photos "shameful" and "disgraceful."
Captain Barak Raz, the Israeli army spokesman who appeared in the video, said the photographs were in "total opposition" to the army's "ethical code".
Abergil was discharged from the military a year ago, meaning authorities had no power to prevent her from posting the pictures on the internet.
But Ghassan Khatib, the Palestinian Authority spokesman, said that the images typified the treatment meted out to Palestinians by Israeli troops.
"This is an example of life under occupation," he said.
Sami Ershied, a lawyer based in Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera that the pictures show illegal activity.
"It's illegal to publish these pictures in public showing this soldier making fun of these prisoners."
It is not the first time that the Israeli military has been embarrassed by material posted on the internet.
Earlier this year, the Israeli military set up a special unit to monitor information posted online.
Israeli authorities have issued strict instructions to soldiers regarding the type of information and photographs that they may post online about themselves and their military service.