The Israeli military has announced that it has dismissed one of its senior officers after a video surfaced of the soldier striking at a protestor with his rifle. The decision made by Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz was motivated by what was deemed as “moral failure” by the officer.
The incident occurred in the Jordan Valley where several pro-Palestinian activists joined for a protest bicycle ride. The planned route was barricaded by Israeli soldiers who told the protestors to turn back. Some words were exchanged and one of the soldiers, identified as Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner, suddenly swung the stalk of his M-16 rifle into the face of a protestor.
The activist at the receiving end of Lt Col Eisner’s rifle was identified as a Danish national who was treated and released from a hospital with minor injuries. The video did not show signs of Lt Col Eisner being provoked in any way, and the Israeli military has announced his suspension while an investigation is being conducted.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned Lt Col Eisner’s actions and stressed that it was an isolated incident and not a reflection of the core values of the Israeli Defense Force.
This is just one of two incidents that drew the ire of pro-Palestinian activists. The event followed a separate situation in which 79 protestors were barred from being admitted on board to a flight headed to Israel. The activists intended to fly to the country for a week-long seminar called “Welcome to Palestine 2012.” Similar seminars have been held in the past that addressed the control of Palestinian borders by Israel.
Soldiers were deployed at Ben Guiron airport to quell protestors from becoming unruly amid the news that they would not be permitted to board the flight headed for Tel Aviv. In addition, Israel also sent a manifest of names to European airports and requested for them to revoke the tickets of those on the list.
Ntenyahu condemned the activists for its outcry over Palestinian treatment by Israel, yet ignoring the human rights abuse taking place in Syria.