International Arab sensation Saber Rebaï, a Tunisian singer-songwriter popular across the Arab world, was set to perform in an amphitheater in the Palestinian city of Rawabi in Samaria.
Rebaï's visit was celebrated wherever he went - until Allenby Crossing, where he posed for a photo with an officer of the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria, Israeli Arab Hadi Khatib.
Journalist Jackie Hougie reported in Haaretz that the coordinator for regional activities, General Yoav "Poli" Mordechai, put the photo up on Facebook with the comment, "We are pleased with the strengthening of celebrations and artistic performances, and welcome the arrival of every artist. We happily coordinate the passage of Saber Rebaï through Allenby Crossing."
As soon as the photo went up, the post was shared and re-shared, while social media sites went wild with criticism for the artist. "Why did you do it, Saber? You have caused us embarrassment." wrote one user.
Another claimed the picture hurts the feelings of Palestinians. "If you want to be photographed, then photograph yourself, but why advertise it?"
For his part, Rebaï claims he didn't know that it was an Israeli soldier. "He spoke to me in Arabic, and I didn't know that he was a member of Israeli security. I thought he was a Palestinian commander, who wanted to take a photo. The Palestinian organizers of the concert didn't inform me of it, and didn't explain that he was a member of Israeli security, and even they treated him like normal."