Insensitive pictures of Palestinian prisoners create furore

Aberjil’s failure to understand the uproar the pictures have caused reflects the inhuman attitude of a supposed-to-be-well-trained disciplined wing of the Israel. Decades of occupation have turned them into robots.

WE LIVE in a civilised world where we care for the dignity of enemy combatants. Prisoners of war are entitled to full freedom of religion and discrimination based on race, colour, or ethnicity is prohibited. Given the breadth of these rights, prisoners of war often enjoy greater protection under the rules of war than they would under the domestic laws of their captor.

Unfortunately, the most powerful nation upon earth made a mockery of these rules at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Israel, whose inhabitants had to face interrogation methods used during the World War-II. The Palestinian suspects were bound with plastic handcuffs, blindfolded and had to undergo the humiliating punishments, which violated all the rules and norms of war and peace. What makes the situation more abhorrent; what makes the pain more incisive is the insensitivity of those, who perpetrated these atrocities.

Eden Aberjil, an Israeli who has completed her mandatory two-year army service with IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) about a year ago managed to get herself photographed in 2008 with Palestinian prisoners which depict them as house pets. There are cries of shame against these pictures all over the world.

Even in Israel, many individuals and organisations have expressed their disapproval of this unkind cut. However, she is so impeccably devoid of human dignity that she doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. The former soldier sees nothing wrong with posting photos on her Facebook profile showing her posing, grinning and amused, alongside blindfolded Palestinian detainees.

According to her, “The pictures reflect the military experience. The army: the best time of my life.” She was obviously not alone. Someone took those photographs with detainees and this photograph was not isolated. There are plenty.

Israel controls much of the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights captured in a 1967 war. Gaza is no longer in Israeli occupation and presently ruled by Hammas. Palestinians who try to cross the Gaza border into Israel were often taken for questioning.

Abergil is a civilian now and she is no longer directly answerable to the military. Commenting on whether the photographs had dealt a blow to Israel’s international image, she told Army Radio: “We will always be attacked — whatever we do, we will always be attacked.”

Aberjil’s failure to understand the uproar the pictures have caused reflects the inhuman attitude of a supposed-to-be-well-trained disciplined wing of the Israel. Decades of occupation have turned them into robots, who consider the Palestinian prisoners as subhuman – objects of amusement.

It is normal to abuse them and their rights. It is a culture that gives rise to appalling conduct like forcing inmates to dance, sing Israeli patriotic and military songs, or photographing them as a hunter would his conquered beast. The humiliation of Palestinian detainees is taken as ‘best time’ of any soldier’s army experience. They are not insulting the prisoners of an occupied territory but trampling upon the fundamental principles of human dignity.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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