Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, an IDF officer who was caught on video striking a Danish peace activist in the face with his rifle in April 2012, agreed to a plea bargain with the military prosecution on Tuesday.
The incident occurred when, according to the army’s account, a group of activists attempted to break through a military blockade outside of the West Bank city of Jericho. Soldiers who witnessed the events alleged that the activists had initiated the violence, hitting soldiers with sticks and even throwing a bicycle that struck Eisner. During the altercation, Eisner slammed the magazine of his rifle into the face of 20-year-old Andreas Ayas from Denmark.
According to the agreement, Eisner, who served as the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade at the time, will carry out two months of community service without pay, and will never be promoted to another command in the IDF. While Eisner will not be formally discharged from the military, he is expected to resign his commission early, likely in the coming days.
For his part, Eisner will admit to behavior unbecoming an officer.
The military prosecutor will seek to finalize the plea bargain next week, after the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown on Wednesday.
Eisner claimed that he had suffered two broken fingers in the fight and was struck from behind. During the investigation that took place immediately following the incident, he acknowledged that his actions were wrong, but he also blasted the upper echelons of the IDF for being more concerned with the army looking good on camera than in ensuring that the IDF achieve its objectives.
He also rejected the claims of “moral failure” for his actions, saying that his response had resulted in the dispersion of the demonstrators.
On Tuesday, Eisner was quoted by Channel 2 news as telling his friends that he “chose to swallow this agreement and not fight it to the end.”