B’Tselem – an Israeli human rights organization – released additional
tapes Friday showing recently dismissed Lt.- Col. Shalom Eisner
hitting three activists with his M-16 rifle during a Jordan Valley
rally last weekend.
In one eight minute tape, shot by Palestinian TV 2, bicycle riders
are seen chanting and waving Palestinian flags as they stand behind
an army jeep at a junction leading to Route 90 a week ago Saturday.
Some have unfurled signs stating: “Stop Ethnic cleansing.” Around one
minute and 30 seconds into the tape, shot by Palestinian television,
an organizer calls on international cyclists to gather.
Half a dozen soldiers move into a line as the cyclists appear to try
and force their way forward.
One cyclist hits a solider with his bicycle, as the cyclist tries to
ride past him.
The soldier pushes the cyclist back and takes his bicycle.
Almost at the same time, Eisner, who is standing to the right and
holding his rifle with two hands like a baton in front of him, hits a
female cyclist in the chest as she stands by her bicycle wrapped in a
Yelling at the cyclist to move, Eisner then slams his rifle into the
face of Danish activist Andreas Ias.
Eisner then turns to slam his rifle into the back of an activist who
is trying to move his bicycle out of the way. A soldier who looks
like him, but is less clear, is also seen pushing an activist against
the side of a vehicle.
Already on Wednesday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny
Gantz dismissed Eisner from his post as deputy commander of the
Jordan Valley Brigade, after a two-minute video posted on YouTube
showed him hitting Ias.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres
condemned his actions. The initial short two-minute video generated
an enormous amount of discussion in the the media as well as among
the Israeli public. Opinions were split in favor and against Eisner.
Those who supported Eisner were concerned that the public had seen
only one tape that caught a few moments of a larger incident.
The tapes B’Tselem released Friday showed a more extended version of
the incident, although only one B’Tselem tape appears to show the
brief moments of violence.
A very long tape shows the cyclists heading toward the junction as
well as interviews in Arabic with the cyclists, some of whom were
foreigners and others who were Palestinians, as they headed out on
what was to have been a 20- km. ride.
Their path was blocked by the IDF who placed a jeep in front of their
path, by Route 90. For a few minutes, the cyclists gathered there,
waving Palestinian flags and chanting, sometimes in Arabic and other
times in English.