Highlighting the cold indifference and cruelty that has come to characterize the Israeli occupation, a recently discharged soldier has posted photos of herself smiling as she sits besides blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.
Eden, the young Israeli woman, posted the pictures on Facebook and titled the album "Army... the most beautiful time of my life. :)" One shows her squatting before a group of bound Palestinians, presumably at or near a West Bank checkpoint, a smirk playing on her face. In another, Eden sits on a cement block next to a prisoner, whose eyes are covered with a strip of cloth. Her head titled upwards, she looks down her nose imperiously towards him.
Speaking to the Israeli daily Ynet, an Israeli army spokesman commented, "This is shameless behavior by the soldier. In light of the fact that she was discharged last year, all of the details have been turned over to the commanders for further attention."
Yishai Menuhin, the director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, a local NGO, commented to Ynet, "These types of pictures reflect the customary norms of IDF soldiers... and the treatment given to Palestinian detainees."
The comments on the photos left by Eden and her friends are equally disturbing as they, at best, show utter disregard for the Palestinian prisoners, and at worst, downright mock them.
One friend commented that Eden was "sexiest like that." Eden responded, "Yes, I know. LOL... What a day it was, look how he completes my pictures. I wonder if he's got Facebook. I have to tag him the picture. LOL."
First exposed by the blog Sachim, other Israelis expressed shock and disgust with both the photos and the responses left by Eden and her friends.Journalist and blogger Dimi Reider wrote:
"These pictures really do speak for themselves; of course, [Eden] is no better or worse than thousands of other Israeli soldiers, and I'd like to hope a few years from now she'll be appalled, rather than amused by the memories. We may and should cut slack to the effect of conflict on a young person's sensitivity and moral standards - [Eden] by no means should be scapegoated for all excesses of the IDF - and remember efforts by separate individuals, even in uniform, to make an intolerable situation more bearable."
The picture I see in Eden's photos? An army that has forgotten the other's humanity--and has lost its own humanity in the process.