IDF dismisses officer from post for hitting Danish activist (ISRAEL HAYOM) Lilach Shoval 04/18/12)
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IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz decides to remove Lt.
Col. Shalom Eisner, who hit Danish protester in the face, from his
post • Army top brass calls Eisner´s actions a moral failure • Eisner
is shown on Israeli television, asking: What is more important – the
mission or coming across well on television?
Top brass in the Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday decided to
dismiss the Jordan Valley brigade Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Shalom
Eisner from his post on moral grounds, after video footage surfaced
showing him hitting a Danish left-wing activist in the face with his
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz removed Eisner from
his post on Wednesday, following consultations with GOC Central
Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, and the Chief of the Ground Forces
Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman.
Gantz said the investigation into the incident showed it was flawed
by operational and command failures – both in the army´s preparation
for the activists´ protest ride and in how the soldiers handled the
confrontation that ensued. The army continues to handle the case.
Following his dismissal, Eisner will not be able to serve as the
deputy commander of the IDF Officers´ School (Training Base 1) and
will not be eligible to serve in commanding positions over the next
The video, documenting a confrontation Saturday between Israeli
soldiers and left-wing International Solidarity Movement
demonstrators near Jericho, was made public on Sunday, and gained
widespread exposure by media outlets in Israel and abroad. In the
video, Eisner is seen smashing his rifle into the face of unarmed
Danish activist Andreas Ias. Ias maintains that the assault was
unprovoked, while Eisner says that Ias assaulted him with a stick and
broke one of his fingers.
Meanwhile, Eisner met Maj. Gen. Alon on Tuesday, during which Alon
told him his actions constituted "a moral failure."
Also on Tuesday, Alon presented conclusions from the operational
investigation into Eisner´s conduct to IDF chief Gantz. The chief of
staff did not accept the report in its entirety and sent a research
team to do additional work.
On Monday night, Alon held an inquiry into the incident with the
commander of the 162nd Armor Division Brig. Gen. Agai Yehezkel,
Jordan Valley Commander Col. Nochi Mendel, and Eisner. An IDF source
said that military investigations take time to complete, especially
when many forces are involved, such as the Border Police, Military
Police Corps and the Military Police Corps Investigation Unit, among
Eisner, for his part, on Tuesday expressed little regret or remorse
for what happened.
Channel 10 news broadcast an audio recording of Eisner in which he
said: "There is a question here of what is more important, to
complete the mission or look good in front of the camera? I argue
that the mission is important enough, they say it isn´t, perhaps I´m
wrong and they´re right … We know the history of these anarchists,
they came with sticks and broke my hand, but they won´t share or
Eisner said that, according to his medical diagnosis, he had a broken
pinky finger and also pointed out that the physical confrontation
lasted all of two minutes. "In the end I used [my rifle] … I used the
weapon in a cold way, like a stick. I didn’t kill anyone and didn´t
endanger anyone´s life … in order to complete the mission and to
prevent my soldiers from being harmed. My feeling is that the
protesters themselves said afterward that the only reason they
stopped the protest and didn´t push further was because the deputy
commander acted like that."
However, according to Eisner, "All these stories don´t interest our
chief of general staff or the GOC."
Eisner still doesn´t believe he failed morally or in upholding the
IDF´s purity of arms: "Now we have a few questions here. I said it
could be that using the weapon in front of the cameras was a
professional error … I told the general, I told the division
commander, that in no way do I accept that I failed morally."
According to Eisner, had he not acted in the determined manner he
did, the IDF would have sustained damage to its reputation. "What, if
they would have filmed IDF soldiers backing down in the face of a
wild crowd, that would sound better? What, I´m going to let them
start blocking my roads? I´m going to let them put lives in danger?
That sounds better? Someone on duty got his hand broken, and the
general, even before the images came out he knew my hand was broken,
he understood the significance of anarchists breaking the hand of an
IDF lieutenant colonel. Nobody would [let that happen]."
An IDF source said in response that Eisner´s comments show he
apparently doesn´t understand the moral and ethical failure of his
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