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Israeli soldier 'reprimanded' over Instagram photos

Feb. 20, 2013 8:34 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 22, 2013 4:35 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's army said Wednesday it had reprimanded a soldier after he was identified in photos uploaded online using drugs in uniform and posing nude with weapons.

The pictures, discovered by the US-based Electronic Intifada website, show a young man identified as Osher Maman in a series of poses with guns and weapons, while others show him posing with a joint.

Screenshots also show him making threatening and derogatory statements about Arabs and Muslims on social media. "Just took an arab out.... Whataa feeling," said a Twitter post.

"The pictures in question are a violation of the IDF's Code of Ethics and its values. This is a severe incident that is being treated appropriately. The soldier was reprimanded by his commanders. Investigation of the pictures is ongoing," an emailed statement from the Israeli army said.

It added: "The IDF goes through great efforts to ensure that soldiers conduct themselves in line with the IDF Code of Ethics. Violations of this code leads to disciplinary actions."

The army did not elaborate on how the soldier, which it did not name, was reprimanded.

The statement comes a day after Israel's army said it would hold an investigation into the conduct of another soldier who shared a picture of a Palestinian child seen through the scope of a rifle. Both soldiers' images were uploaded using the popular Instagram photo sharing application.

Ali Abunimah, the author of the post about Mamam, called the images "an indicator of a much more troubling reality. They indicate an atmosphere and attitude where life, Palestinian life, is cheap."

He added: "If only this were restricted to Instagram, it would not be such a problem. It is the fact that this attitude translates into routine killings of Palestinians, especially, children, and there are no credible investigations."

Abunimah referred to findings by an Israeli legal group that of 103 investigations into allegations of crimes committed against Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in 2012, none resulted in an indictment.

"In this context, public relations responses from the Israeli army that this or that soldier has been 'disciplined' or 'reprimanded' for a social media transgression should fool no one. The real problem is a culture of violence and hatred that is an inherent feature of military and colonial rule over a subject people."
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