Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Israeli soldier posts photos of Palestinian prisoner on Facebook

A former Israeli soldier has been condemned for posting photographs of herself on Facebook with blindfolded Palestinian prisoners under the heading: "IDF – the best time of my life."

The photographs, posted by a woman soldier named Eden, from Ashdod, who left the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) two years ago, were removed yesterday from the social-networking website. In one picture, the woman is shown next to a blindfolded prisoner, while another shows her smiling in front of other prisoners, while their eyes were covered and their hands bound.

A comment posted by one of her Facebook friends said: "That looks very sexy for you." Ms Eden's response, also posted on the site, read: "I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I'll have to tag him in the photo."

The IDF condemned the ex-soldier saying in a statement: "These actions are ugly and callous; details of the incident have been forwarded up the chain of command." A military spokesman said it was not clear whether action could be taken against the woman because she had been discharged in 2008.

The posting was swiftly condemned by the Palestinian Authority as humiliating, and Yishai Menuchin, the director of the Israeli NGO, Public Committee Against Torture, told the newspaper Haaretz: "The horrible pictures demonstrate a norm of treating Palestinians like objects instead of human beings – treatment that disregards their feelings as humans and their right to privacy."

He added: "The soldier would go crazy if photographs of her in humiliating circumstances had been posted on the internet without her permission. We call upon IDF commanders to issue orders to prevent this kind of humiliating behaviour." The newspaper said an Israeli blogger, Lisa Goldman, managed to contact the former soldier via Facebook, who replied: "I don't speak to leftists."

In the past year, the IDF, which has faced breaches of security caused by Facebook postings by soldiers, has announced strict rules forbidding them from uploading photographs from military bases or operations. Such breaches can be referred to criminal investigators.

* A Jerusalem judge has ruled Abir Aramin, a 10-year-old girl, was killed by a rubber bullet in the West Bank village of Anata in 2007 as a result of state "negligence". The verdict ends a three-year fight by the girls' parents to prove that she was shot by police. The case was highlighted at the time by The Independent. The court held the girl was killed by a stray rubber bullet fired by a Border Police officer.