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Israeli in Facebook storm defends prisoner photos
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A former Israeli soldier said on Tuesday she saw nothing wrong in having posted pictures of herself on Facebook posing next to handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees.
The images, from Eden Abergil's "Army -- the best period of my life" photo album on the social media website, drew international attention and condemnation by Israel's military after they appeared in Israeli newspapers on Monday.
The Palestinian Government Media Center described the pictures as indicative of "the mentality of the occupier, to be proud of humiliating Palestinians."
"I still don't understand what was wrong," the former conscript said in an interview on Israeli Army Radio on Tuesday.
Abergil said the photographs, which she has since removed from her Facebook page, were not intended to make a political statement or demonstrate contempt for Palestinians.
"It was solely to show the experience of military service," she said.
Israel controls much of the occupied West Bank, captured in a 1967 war, which Palestinians want as part of a future state along with the Gaza Strip, now run by Hamas Islamists.
Abergil, who completed her mandatory two-year army service about a year ago, said the photographs were taken in 2008 at her base where Palestinians who tried to cross the Gaza border into Israel were often taken for questioning.
Palestinian suspects are sometimes bound with plastic handcuffs and blindfolded while waiting to be questioned.
As a civilian, Abergil is no longer directly answerable to the military, but an army spokesman condemned her actions as "disgraceful."
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."
(Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Andrew Roche)
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