Photo-sharing site Instagram has finally arrived! The popular site with more than 100 million members as of January 2013 was where the photo of a Palestinian boy with his head in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle was shared. The photo spared international outrage.
The controversial photo was posted on Jan 25 by 20-year-old Israeli soldier Mor Ostrovski who belongs to the sniper unit. Mr Ostrovski denied taking the photo and insisted he only found it on the Internet. Because of the furor, the soldier closed his Instagram account.
Eylan Buchman, spokesman of the Israeli military, said the photo is not in line with the values or code of ethics of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Among those who condemned the publication of the photo, which appears to have been taken in Palestine based on the minarets and Arabic architecture in the background, is Breaking the Silence. The group, made up of veteran Israeli combat soldiers who are campaigning to raise awareness about life in the West Bank, said the photo is a good representation of military control over a civilian population.
Electronic Intifada (EI), a news site with focus on Palestinian issues, said the photo is tasteless and dehumanising. Ali Abunimah, who also published other photos from Mr Ostrovski's closed Instagram account including the crosshair photo below (Source: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-soldier-posts-disturbing-instagram-photo-child-crosshairs-his-rifle) and other pictures that showed the soldier posing with heavy-duty firearms.
Other comments in Mr Abunimah's blog include a post by Hugh Sansom of a Harper's article that someone named Chris Hedges witnessed Israeli soldiers tossing candies in open spaces to attract children and then terrify the tots by firing at them.
Another comment by Joseph Tillotson called Israel "an illegitimate, pariah state that should be thrown out of the U.N." and added the IDF's behaviour is symptomatic of cancer called Israel which is a perpetrator of genocide, ethnic cleaning and apartheid.
Other damning photos from Instagram published by Electronic Intifada include that of Nisim Asis, a 22-year-old soldier licking a knife with the caption, "Fuck all Arabs their blood is tasty," although the soldier may have used tomato ketchup only.
Mr Asis posts also his nude pictures on social networking sites in what is called sporno which uses sexuality as an alleged part of the official propaganda operation of the IDF.
EI has numerous other photos showing Israeli military wrongdoings. The YouTube also has several videos of other types of abuses such as the killing of small children.