IDF officer who beat activist suspended (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yoav Zitun Published: 04.16.12, 00:11)
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Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner says he should not have flung his M-16 rifle
on Danish activist but claims activists had beaten him with sticks,
broke his finger. PM Netanyahu condemns incident
Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner regretted an incident in which he
beat a foreign activist with an M-16 rifle on Sunday. "I should not
have flung my weapon like that," he told his associates. "But those
are 60 seconds out of a two-hour event," he noted.
He has been suspended from his post and IDF chief of Staff Benny
Gantz said he regarded the incident with the utmost severity. Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident and said
that "such conduct is not characteristic of IDF soldiers and
commanders and has no place in the IDF and the State of Israel."
Central Command Chief Major-General Nitzan Alon ordered an immediate
inquiry of the event. It has been decided that Eisner be suspended
until the full investigation is completed. Meanwhile, the Military
Advocate General has ordered an IMP (Investigating Military Police)
investigation. IDF chief Gantz said: "This event does not reflect the
IDF´s values and will be thoroughly investigated and handled with the
Ynet has obtained Eisner´s version of events as he told it to his
associates. The deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Territorial
Brigade said that after hearing of the activists´ intention of
blocking Route 90 he showed up at the scene and ordered the forces to
prevent the blocking of the road.
"I explained to the activists that many travelers were using the road
because of the holiday and that they are posing a major security
risk," he said. Eisner noted he had done the same thing when groups
of right-wing activists had tried to access the road for protests.
He said he allowed the activists to demonstrate inside the village of
Ouja and ride off the road. "All was calm and in control and that is
why I didn´t bring a water canon and gave them 15 minutes to
protest," he said.
"It was a group of 60 activists and suddenly two buses arrived and
the activists all together called to block the road while closing our
barrier. One of the Palestinian organizers told me at this stage that
she no longer had control over the event."
Lt. Col. Eisner claims that some of the protesters started attacking
him with sticks which caused one of his fingers to break. He also
suffered a major injury in his wrist which required a cast. "The
weapon was the only thing I had in my hands. The whole thing lasted
60 seconds, we prevented them from getting on the road and they
boarded the bus. Obviously, they didn´t show the part where they
attacked us with sticks in the video."
Eisner´s jeep contained a crowd dispersal kit which was not used
during the event. "There was no reason for me to fire a gas grenade
as there had been no violence in the course of two hours of dialogue.
I thought about using the kit, but I decided it would be better to
let them calm down."
Lt. Col. Eisner´s associates say that the highly esteemed officer had
demonstrated restraint in previous incidents. In one instance, he
helped deliver the baby of a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint and in
another chased after Jewish drivers who had ran over a Palestinian
girl and left her on the road. "I may have given one punch too many
but I´m against violence as a concept. Sadly, the media reports are
all that will be remembered," he said.
"I could have stopped them but I didn´t because I wanted a peaceful
solution to the event. It´s obvious the video had been edited and
that it caused damage to the State of Israel. We should have had our
own documenting crew," Eisner remarked.
"What they were trying to do risked my life and the lives of many
others. We maintained restraint for two hours. Some of the soldiers
told me, ´Stop it, they´re inciting.´ I should have been better
prepared. They caught us off guard. I used whatever I had in my
Some of Eisner´s former subordinates said he showed restraint during
riots and always opts for the path of negotiations. "The video is
tendentious and edited," they said. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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