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Israel PM slams 'dancing soldier' video

Israel's prime minister has condemned videos filmed by Israeli soldiers that humiliate Palestinians.
/ Source: news services

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday condemned videos filmed by Israeli soldiers that humiliate Palestinians.

The most recent YouTube video sparking outrage among Muslims appears to show an Israeli soldier dancing around a blindfolded Palestinian Muslim woman.

Netanyahu's office said in a statement Wednesday that such videos cause "unacceptable harm to human dignity" of the Palestinians, embarrass the Israeli military and "cause serious international damage."

The Israeli in the video has refused to comment. It has not been possible to verify the video's authenticity.

In the blurry, 75-second video, which might have been filmed on a cell phone, 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.

Netanyahu's statement condemned the incident. "The humiliation of prisoners and detainees is not the way of the state of Israel nor that of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said.

A Palestinian woman who said she was the one in the video told Reuters on Wednesday the incident 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 program featuring odd clips from the Internet.

The Israeli military 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 Israeli soldier posted pictures of herself on Facebook posing next to bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees.