The Israeli Defense Forces condemned an Israeli soldier who posted an Instagram photo that is allegedly of a Palestinian boy in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. Criticism raged on the Internet, especially on websites favorable to the Palestinian cause and the Electronic Intifada. The Israeli soldier, declared the IDF, performed in a manner that "are not in accordance with the spirit of the IDF or its values," according to the Israeli army. The IDF has since deleted his Instagram account. The soldier’s commanding officers are aware of the incident and an investigation is underway.
"This is what occupation looks like," declared representatives of Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli combat veterans that hope to raise consciousness about life in Israeli territories. According to the group’s Facebook page, "This is what military control over a civilian population looks like." Breaking the Silence says that the photo reveals that little has changed in the decade since a similar photograph taken by a soldier was displayed in the organization's first public exhibit in 2003.
"There, too, an Israeli soldier aimed a weapon at a boy and took a picture with his camera as a memento, a gesture of an endless feeling of power that is connected to control over another people," according to the Breaking the Silence Facebook page. "Ten years have passed. The devices and the applications have changed; the ways in which pictures are shared has changed. The feeling of excessive power and the clear contempt for human life and human dignity have remained."
In a separate incident, another soldier who had taken a photo of himself next to cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainee and posted it to Facebook, was recently sentenced to 14 days in a military prison. The offending photo was removed from Facebook.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.