Dancing Israeli soldier video goes viral

  • World
  • Wednesday, 06 Oct 2010

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two years after it was posted on YouTube, a video that appears to show an Israeli soldier dancing around a blindfolded and bound Palestinian woman detainee has gone viral on the Internet.

The incident, whose authenticity could not be determined independently, has drawn more than 400,000 views on YouTube over the past two days.

In the blurry, 75-second video, which might have been filmed on a cellphone, a man wearing sunglasses and the uniform of an Israeli sergeant dances to Arabic music around a blindfolded and bound woman in a Muslim headscarf and black robe.

The clip shows a mocking dance, seemingly aimed at humiliating the detainee.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident in a statement issued by his office on Wednesday. "The humiliation of prisoners and detainees is not the way of the state of Israel nor that of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said.

According to a Palestinian woman who told Reuters on Wednesday she was the prisoner, it happened in 2007 at an army camp in the occupied West Bank, at the start of a two-year detention for membership in the militant Islamic Jihad group.

First posted on YouTube by "eyalx16" on April 20, 2008, the video had gone largely unnoticed until Israel's Channel 10 TV aired it on Monday during a programme featuring odd clips from the Internet.

The Israeli military said it was launching an investigation and said it condemned any such incidents. But it said it did not know whether the video was authentic.

The military said more than two years had passed and the purported soldier in the video would have ended his compulsory service by now.

In the West Bank town of Hebron, Ihsaan Dabaabseh, told Reuters she was "100 percent sure" she was the blindfolded woman in the video.

Asked how she could say that with certainty, Dabaabseh said: "I lifted the band on my eyes a bit, since I was able to lift my two handcuffed hands. I saw a group of soldiers playing music on their mobile phones and drinking. One soldier was dancing."

Dabaabseh's name was provided to Reuters by the Palestinian prisoners' forum, a group that provides aid to Palestinians held by Israel and to their families. She said she intends to sue Israeli authorities for abuse.

No one has come forward in Israel to claim ownership of the video, unlike an incident in August when a former soldier posted pictures of herself on the social networking site Facebook posing next to bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Assadi in Hebron, Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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