Friday, October 8, 2010

Soldier who abused female Palestinian prisoner identified

This video circulated a few days ago on the internet, after it had been shown by Al-Jazeera. It's yet another example of how some Israeli soldiers apparently abuse Palestinians after they have been arrested. (Remember Eden Abergil, the female soldier who surfaced earlier with similar pictures?). This one shows  a soldier who performs a kind of belly dance around a frightened female prisoner, who is handcuffed and blkindfolded and is leaning against a wall.

 It did not post it at first, considering that there are probably examples of abuse which are far worse, and also because of lack of time and space. But now, there is reason to do it as yet. Thanks to my twitter friend Dena Shunra we now know wo this soldier is. Dena found his Facebook page, from where I post a picture here.
The name of the soldier is Avi Jakobov. According to his Facebook page he is working in the liquor sector and right now he seems to be in Berlin, where he takes part in the 'Oktoberfest' as a bartender. (This information comes from the Tikun Olam blog of Richard Silverstein, who also got his first information from Dena). Is anybody familiar with his exact wherabouts? And could someone try to get him arrested for war crimes, maybe?

Two more things should be mentiond. First the reaction of the Israeli army after Yakobov's video had been surfaced. Did theystart an inquiry? In order to punish him? No, wrong. The army spokesman issued  the following statement:
The video clip, which has aroused many reactions in the wider world, brought the IDF to the conclusion that it must explain better to soldiers the dangers of uploading video and images embroiled in controversy.
Which tells us that apparently the Israeli army is more concerned with its image than with the moral standards of its employees.
Another fact: Also Yakobov's victim has been identified. The French press agency AFP found her. It is Ihsan Dababseh (35) from a village near Hebron, who was arrested and aftrwards convicted to 22 months for her membership of the Islamic Jihad. AFP quoted her as follows:

“I saw the video on Al-Jazeera. I did not sleep last night so I felt humiliated and frustrated “, said Ihsan Dababseh, after the international television retransmission of these images broadcast from YouTube Monday by an Israeli channel.
“The sound of laughter of the soldiers and the music echoed in my ears,” said the young woman from the village of Nuba, near Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank.
She said he contacted the Prisoners’ Club, a Palestinian NGO, and is considering legal action against the Israeli army.

Thanks to Dena Shunra I'm able to provide some additional information. It is taken from the Hebrew on the blog of Yossi Hurvitz ( ) who did some additional research. Dena was kind enough to translate it:

The incident occurred in December 2007, at the Etzion Division base, behind the base warroom. A short while thereafter Yakobov & the other soldier placed a military cap on Dababseh's head, at which point the Deputy Division Commander, lieutenant colonel Guy Osheri, arrived on the location and shouted at the soldiers.

When a large Israeli paper contacted Israel's military spokesman about this, the spokesman claimed that Yakobov had been tried and sentenced to 21 days in military prison. Soldiers on the spot testify that this is untrue: they were called in for an investigative conversation, educational conversations were later held on the base. Yakobov was grounded, as far as can be determined without a military procedure. One of the soldiers involved said that his impression was that Osheri was under the impression that such a procedure would give his unit a bad image. This is a well-known issue in the IDF. Yakobov was not imprisoned. It will be noted that Yakobov was apparently imprisoned later, due to another incident, of being drunk on the job. It could be that that is what the unit told the military spokesman had been Yakobov's punishment. The military spokesman has only limited ability to verify exact details of an incident that occurred nearly three years
ago, since most of the soldiers involved have already been discharged,and record-keeping is notoriously inaccurate in Israel's army.

Some reports on the Internet say that Yakobov is in German. In fact, he is in Israel, and sounded quite stunned over the phone. He said he had just woken up and refused to answer questions.

Yakobov's name was not published, although his friends identified him on facebeook and informed him that he had become a celebrity. The security authorities have the toxic policy of hiding the identify of soldiers who committed war crimes.

Interesting is that Yossi tells us that Yakobov is in Israel. Initially it was reported that Yakobov was in Germany, but Yossi phoned him and found him at home. Yossi reminds his readers of Issaschar Shadmi who was found guilty as one of the perpetrators of the massacre of Kfar Qassem in 1956 (48 dead, 23 women and children among them) and was sentenced to a ridiculous low fine (less than an Israeli Lira). Yossi suggests that we (people in Israel and bloggers) start an effort to publish the names of people who thus abused Palestinians in order to have them punished. As yet Yossi Gurvitz has only published this in Hebrew, but he might come with a follow up on his English blog, here which is anyhow worthwhile to read).

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