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Facebook scandal escalates as group posts new photos

Aug. 17, 2010 3:56 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2010 9:50 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli human rights group has released pictures of Israeli soldiers and border guards alongside blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian detainees -- some of them dead.

Breaking the Silence set up a group on Facebook entitled "the norm denied by Avi Benayahu," an Israeli military spokesman who described the recent release of photographs by an ex-soldier next to detainees as exceptional.

"The new campaign came into being in the wake of the publication of Eden Abergil's photos, in order to show the prevalence of this phenomenon among IDF ranks," Breaking the Silence said in a statement to the Israeli news site Ynet.

"The photographs that had been published are merely the tip of the iceberg. Many people possess thousands of photos, but only a small part is being published … we turned Eden into a scapegoat, while the norm is what needs to be targeted."

The original photos prompted a harsh reaction from the Palestinian Authority. "This shows the mentality of the occupier, to be proud of humiliating Palestinians. There is nothing in the world that can justify [this] humiliation that is part of the Israeli occupation practices on [a] daily basis," the PA's Government Media Center said in a statement.

"Occupation is unjust, immoral and, as these pictures show, corrupting. It should end and Palestinian rights and dignity be respected. We call upon all human rights defenders to make all efforts to end the Israeli occupation and close this dark era for humanity," the statement added.

Abergil posted the photos in her Facebook album "Army...best time of my life:)" in early August. The series of images, since removed from her page, displayed Abergil posing with blindfolded and handcuffed detainees who were apparently seized during a recent army raid in the occupied West Bank.
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