Israel suspends officer videotaped striking activist (CNN) Cable News Network) By Kevin Flower JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 04/16/12)
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Jerusalem (CNN) -- The Israeli military said Monday that it has
suspended an officer who was caught on video striking a pro-
Palestinian activist in the face.
In a statement, the military described the incident as severe and
promised that the circumstances would be investigated and "the
necessary measures carried out."
Video of the incident, which took place Saturday near the West Bank
city of Jericho, shows a group of Israeli soldiers attempting to
prevent a group of dozens of bicycle-riding activists from passing.
One of the activists is next to an Israeli soldier, who suddenly hits
the young man in the face with an M-16 rifle. The man falls to the
ground and is quickly dragged away by his peers.
The video was posted to You Tube on Sunday by a pro-Palestinian
He was treated in a Palestinian hospital for light injuries.
For reasons of security, when contacted by phone the injured activist
would provide only his first name, which he said was Andaers. He said
he was participating in a bicycle tour through the Jordan River
Valley organized to bring attention to the Israeli military
occupation of the West Bank.
When his group encountered a military roadblock, Andaers said, he and
a few other bikers decided to move peacefully toward the
soldiers. "We walked slowly towards them; the immediate response as
you see from the video was violence." Andaers said. "One senior
officer took off his rifle and beat three people, including myself."
Andaers said that "there was no justification for the violence" and
that he was considering legal action.
The video prompted a quick and emphatic response from Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in a statement Sunday, "This
behaviour does not characterize the soldiers and commanders of the
(Israeli Defense Forces) and has no place in the IDF and the State of
The officer has been identified as Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, who served
as commander for soldiers in the West Bank.
Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said the
officer´s actions were not in line with military training and
did "not bide with the ethical code and the moral values that we
teach our soldiers and commanders" but suggested that the video did
not tell the whole story.
"It was an illegal riot trying to block a road," Leibovich said of
the activists. The video, she maintained, represented an edited 30
seconds of a 120-minute-long event in which the officer in question
had his hand broken by stick-wielding protesters.
"I´m not sure the violence of the event was conveyed in those 30
seconds," she said.
Bader Zama´reh, the director of Sharek Youth Forum, which organized
the bicycle event, rejected the Israeli military´s characterization.
"This was not a protest; this was a peaceful march," Zama´reh
said. "They have overreacted to everything they did. This was a
peaceful activity. The youth had bicycles and wanted to ride." (©
2012 Cable News Network 04/16/12)
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