An Israeli soldier has caused outrage with a photo published on a popular photo-sharing website that shows the crosshairs of a rifle aimed at the head of what appears to be a Palestinian boy.

The photo, credited to Mor Ostrovski on Instagram, was first discovered by blogger Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada website, who said the scenery suggested it was taken in a Palestinian area.

The image is simply tasteless and dehumanizing. It embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets,” wrote Abunimah.

Other images on Ostrovski’s Instagram account showed images of Israeli soldiers posing with sniper rifles and other weapons. By Tuesday, the account appeared to have been deactivated.

Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli army veterans seeking to raise public awareness about life in the occupied territories, published the image on its Facebook page alongside a similar one it says was taken by another soldier in 2003.

”This is what the occupation looks like,” the group wrote. “Both pictures are testaments to the abuse of power rooted in the military control of another people.”

‘Code of ethics’

The Palestinian Authority, which governs the Israeli-occupied West Bank, also expressed outrage over the image.

"Every Palestinian mother is concerned for her child... because of the picture that is now known and seen worldwide," said PA spokesperson Nour Odeh on Tuesday.

It was not possible for Al Jazeera to independently verify when and where the image was taken, but the Israeli army said it would investigate the matter.

"The picture in question does not coincide with IDF's [Israeli Defence Forces] values or code of ethics," the military said in a statement.

Similar incidents have provoked angry reactions in the past: In 2010, for example, a former Israeli soldier posted photos on her Facebook page that showed her posing next to handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees.

Source: Al Jazeera