IDF chief dismisses officer who struck protester (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yoav Zitun Published: 04.18.12, 12:36)
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Lt.-Col. Eisner relieved of his command in Jordan Valley Brigade;
Gantz bars his promotion for two years. Eisner says ´will consider
future in army´
The IDF has decided to take various disciplinary actions against Lt.-
Col. Shalom Eisner, who struck a Danish pro-Palestinian protester
with an M-16 rifle.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz ordered Wednesday that Eisner
be relieved of his duties as deputy commander of the IDF´s Jordan
Valley Brigade over "operational and ethical failures."
According to an IDF statement, the decision was made after the
initial inquiry into the incident faulted Eisner for conduct
unbecoming an officer, and after Gantz consulted with GOC Central
Command Maj.-Gen Nitzan Alon and GOC Army Headquarters Maj.-Gen. Sami
Ganzt also ordered that the Eisner will not be eligible for any
promotion in the next two years, effectively revoking his candidacy
for head of Bahad 1 – the military´s Officers Training Academy.
Eisner told reporters that he "received the ruling in the matter with
a heavy heart. I´m physically and emotionally injured and I have to
recuperate. I have to reconsider my future in the IDF, should I be
offered another position."
Eisner´s conduct was widely criticized by the IDF, with Gantz saying
it went against the IDF´s ethic.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak dismissed the officer´s explanations for
the incident, saying: "Completing missions and maintaining IDF norms
and ethics are not mutually exclusive.
"Statement made over the past few days, suggesting that the officer´s
behavior was prompted by operational necessity are unacceptable."
Former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Rontzki commented on Gantz´ decision
to relieve Lt. Col. Eisner from duty, saying it "sends out a wrong
"The junior officers might take a narrow-minded approach from now on
and avoid contact during these sorts of events," he said.
The video which led to Eisner´s dismissal was panned for providing a
heavily edited version of the events. The IDF scrambled to get a full
version of the video and was able to obtain it on Wednesday.
The 25-minute video depicts the ride taken by pro-Palestinians and
the events leading up to the skirmish between Eisner and the Danish
The raw footage, taken by Nablus TV cameraman Bashar Abdul Hek, was
filmed for a news report about the planned protest ride and does not
depict the entire event.
In the moments leading up to the incident, an IDF officer is seen
trying to talk to the protesters – who were blocking the road – in an
attempt to bring the rally to its end.
Hek identified the officer as a DCO official who was "very
courteous." The Danish protester is seen in the background several
times, shouting various slogans.
The cameraman said he stopped filming for a while, and started again
when the soldiers were about to remove the protesters from the road.
At this point of the footage, Eisner is seen on the bottom right of
the screen, knocking down a female protester. He is then seen
striking the Danish activist.
The footage also shows Eisner after he was injured – allegedly by the
Danish protester – with his hand bandaged.
The IDF is still analyzing the video and deposing several witnesses
as part of its investigation. Elior Levy and Itamar Fleishman
contributed to this report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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