The IDF has suspended a senior military officer filmed assaulting an unarmed activist protesting Israeli occupation policies in the West Bank.
In the video, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner is seen smashing the Danish activist in the face with his M16 rifle.
Palestinian sources said that the violent act occurred Saturday as a group of Palestinians and activists were riding their bikes in the Jordan Valley.
According to the activists, approximately 20 minutes into their ride, they were stopped by IDF forces. They said that they began to sing songs and protest in a non-violent manner, after which the soldiers began to attack them.
The military said Monday that Eisner would be suspended while the incident is investigated.
The clip was broadcast several times at the start of Israel’s main news broadcasts; Channel 10 began its broadcast by noting that the incident caused the very “damage to Israel’s image” that the Israeli authorities had striven to prevent in their handling of Sunday’s “flytilla” mass fly-in of pro-Palestinian activists to Ben Gurion Airport.
The IDF Spokesperson called the event depicted in the video a “serious incident” and promised a thorough investigation into the assault by the officer — a lieutenant colonel — and into the underlying circumstances.