Sunday, 22 August 2010

Photo girl: 'I did no wrong'

FORMER Israeli girl soldier Eden Abergil, who put photos on the Internet of her smiling beside bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners, said this week: "I still don't understand what I did wrong".

An Israeli military official, Captain Barak Raz, described the pictures on social networking site Facebook as "disgraceful".

He added: "Aside from matters of information security, we are talking about a serious violation of our morals and our ethical code."

Another an army spokesman said the ex-soldier's behaviour as "shameless".

But Abergil, a reserve IDF officer, said: "There's no violence or intention to humiliate anyone in the pictures. I just had my picture taken with them in the background.

"I did it out of excitement, to remember the experience. It wasn't a political statement or any kind of statement. It was about remembering my experiences in the army and that's it."

She said that her actions were "thoughtless" . . . but she stopped short of apologising.

In one picture, Abergil is seen sitting legs crossed beside a blindfolded Palestinian man who is slumped against a concrete barrier. His face is turned downwards, while she leans towards him with her face upturned.

Another shows her smiling at the camera with three Palestinian men with bound hands and blindfolds behind her.

Abergil, of Ashdod, labelled the virtual photo album "Army . . . best time of my life."

At first, the photos were viewable by all Facebook users, although by Monday afternoon they either had been taken down or had their status changed to limited viewing.

Many of the comments on the website denoted shock, while others indicated amusement.

"You're super sexy here," one of her friends wrote. Eden responded: "Yeah I know, ha ha."

Abergil lashed out at the international uproar over the pictures, which were reminders of the snapshots taken in 2003 by US soldiers at an Iraqi prison showing Iraqi detainees, humiliated and terrified. However, the Israeli pictures showed no signs of physical abuse or coercion.

"I did not humiliate those detainees," said Abergil. "I didn't hit them, I didn't act towards them unpleasantly."

No comments: