Israeli Military Cheif of Staff Dismisses Officer Caught in Violent Episode

Last Saturday, a group of activists went on a bike ride in Jordan Valley in protests of [their accusation of] Israel’s withdrawal of water from Palestinians in the territory (a complete and absurd distortion, as I’ll explain later in the post).

According to Israeli military, when they spotted the ride [approved as a legal and valid demonstration in advance with the Israeli army] was drifting off its’ course and about to block a major route and disturb the public order, they approched the activists with the attempt to block their provacation.

While many things are in dispute, one isn’t – there was a clash between the activists and Israeli soldiers. During which, one of the officers – Lieutenant colonel Shalom Eisner – was filmed by the activists hitting a Danish activist in the face with his gun.

The activists did not file a complaint against the officer or the event, they simply used the footage in the psychological warfare against Israel, in the de-legitimization process of demonizing it. They uploaded the video onto the internet.

As soon as Israeli media got a hold of the footage, it broadcasted it and brought it to the attention of both the public and the military’s higher ranks of command.

On Sunday, every major news broadcast agency (both TV and Internet, and later on on Monday morning in print) reported it first thing (first page news!).

On Sunday, The officer in question was called for questioning in his commander’s officer. His explanations were found unsatisfactory and was put on immediate leave. A military police investigation has been opened against both him and the other officers and soldiers present at the scene who failed to report it.

On Monday, The event was strongly condemned by many, including: Israeli President, Shimon Peres; Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; Israeli Military Cheif of Staff, Beni Gantz.

On Tuesday, A preliminary report of the event and the investigation was wired to the Cheif of Staff, who requested immediate clariffications about some of its’ parts.

On Wednesday, less than 72 hours since the matter has been brought to his attention, Israeli military Cheif of Staff, Beni Gantz, dismissed Lieutenant colonel Eisner and denied him the much-coveted position he was to enter in two months.

Both Gantz and Eisner’s direct commander found that though the activists were causing a provacation, it did not justify use of force, and that Eisner acted not according to protocol (who demanded he let the police handle the attempt to disturbt public order, rather than directly engage the activists).  Eisner himself claimed violence was used against both him and the other soldiers, and claims two of his fingers were broken shortly before his own violence (and has filed medical reports of his injury’s treatment from Saturday night). However, the investigation concludes that even if that were true (the Army’s own footage of the event could not prove of disprove his version due to a technical failure), the footage clearly shows he was not in danger (even if for merely a couple of seconds), when he assaulted the Danish activist.

Lieutenant colonel Shalom Eisner, a few days after the incident.
Photographed By: Omer Miron

Once again, I would like to mention that the activists in play chose to not file the any complaint (it was the military police who asked the Danish activist to do so. I am unaware if he actually did) and only use the footage against Israel as a whole! I suppose it stems from their own bias anti-Israeli belief (the same one who made them take part in the bike ride in the first place) and their unrealistic view of both the situation and the forces at play (including who they percieve to be “evil“). But the truth is different! While the reality of the territory is much more complex, Israeli military has a harsh penalty system that trials and investigates many matters [such as that and much lighter]. In fact, when the Danish government approched Israel on the matter on Monday (due to media reports), Israel’s Prime Minister has already condemned the event and the officer in question was already under investigation.

It should be said time and time again until these people get it – Israel is in a complex situation (not unlike a fairy tale one full of dichotomies), and its’ military has an etheical and legal code that all its’ members must honor or face the consequences. It is based on the British model and has evolved since and is today very similiar the one in various military around the world including Britian, France, Spain, United States, Australia and so on. Is every case brought to full justice? Not necessarily (but that’s also true for the non-military conflicts in any democratic and open society). But just like not every incident in a NATO operation is investigated to the full extent of the law as we’d like (and Wikileaks documents show major cover-ups of operations, especially in Iraq but also in Afganistan), and those photographed have a much higher chance for immediate response (like the infamous case of the American soldiers violenting Afgan bodies), the truth of the matter is Israel’s army is not different than those of most European, North American and South Down Under regions armies. Including in matters such as this.


Appendix A: Israeli settlers protest “No fast dismissal when it comes to us”

One of the reactions heard towards this incident, is the protest of Israeli Jewish settlers. Their protest isn’t against the dismissal of Lieutenant colonel Eisner, but about what they claim to be a duplicity matter.

On a personal note, I’d say i’m pretty doubtful if the international media (and often enough the Israeli media itself) even reports about illegal Jewish settlements being evicted. Usually it entails force. Most likely, if it’s only turned against the settlers it barely gets a mention even in Israeli media, unless a group of Jewish terrorists “avenge” the eviction.

Their claim is that when Israeli soldiers used unnecessary and sometimes outrageous violence against them, even when they film it and release photographs, it doesn’t get the same resonance, even if only in the Israeli public and media, as when it happens to a Palestinian. Though the violent soldier or officer would be investigated (because they file a complaint due the lack of media attention as high as in this case), the whole process takes much longer (more than 3 days) and often enough the investigation itself only ends when the soldier in question has already been released of his duty.

I have to say I do thing that this incident was handled relatively fast, mostly due to the graphic and disturbing nature of the images (which I’ve chosen to not post here). However, I don’t think most complaints are handled this fast, whether it is filed by a Palestinian, an activist or a settler.

Appendix B: The Palestinian Water Issue – Not Only Israel’s Fault

The aforementioned bike ride was in protest of the lack of healthy drinking water to the Palestinians in Jordan Valley, which the demonstrators see as Israel’s fault.

That is not entirely true. In fact, over the past year, Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister, Gilad Erdan, has been trying to reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, mainly Palestinian Water Minister Dr. Shaddad Attilli, however the later refuses any kind of plan that could be constructed as workable.

Just last December, he was invited to Israel’s port city of Ashdod to take part in a panel along side Erdan, in the National Water Viability Conference (can’t seem to recall any time an Israeli minister was invited to take part in an open discussion in the Palestinian Authroity). The panel yielded no result and ended in 20 minutes. Attilli refused to talk about the issue at hand, only using the floor for anti-Israeli statements, and refused to even look or approch Erdan, who later commented:

How can I solve the Palestinian water problem when their minister refuses to address the issue? You need cooperation to resolve problems. How can I address the matter when he automatically assumes we’re the ‘bad guy’ in this case?

The Palestinian Authority continues to do everything it can to avoid any kind of settlement and blame Israel for all their troubles, while at the same time refusing to conduct any kind of negotiations (on any issue whatsoever!). As of Yesterday (when Palestinian Prime Minister refused to come for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister and sent Saeb Ariket in stand), they still refuse negotiations under the most ludicrous of excuses.

For instance, they blame Israel for the water situation in Gaza, neglecting to mention that Gaza has been taken in a violent coup by Hamas, an entity that refuses to talk to Israel or acknowledge its’ very existance (merely refering to Israeli in vicious flammatory names).

The Palestinians reject any kind of offer, and to this day demand a solution that will de-facto dicatate a new condition in their favor for the final peace agreement (should one ever be achieved). The latest I’ve heard was demanding to be connected to an Israeli water system in Territory C (a territory in full Israeli control, agreed upon in the Oslo Accords between the Israelis and the Palestinians) – a territory that in any kind settlement (including the Bill Clinton proposed settlement of 1999, which they’ve rejected) would stay under Israel’s territory.

But much like many other issues, activists are blind to how much the Palestinian leadership itself refuses any kind of normality, and operates, sometimes while deliberately hurting their own people and milking it for political fortune in the international community, for the purpose of blaming Israel for everything, demonizing it and distancing themselves from a settlement with would force them to make concessions that they simply cannot make (among them is ending the conflict, resolving the Refugees issue and the fictional “Right of Return” in a reasonable matter [reasonable = with according to any other conflict around the world] and more).


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One Response to “Israeli Military Cheif of Staff Dismisses Officer Caught in Violent Episode”

  1. blogdibarbara Says:

    We must also say that those peaceful protesters had knives: I posted a picture here:

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