A senior Israeli army officer who smashed a pro-Palestinian protester in the face with his gun has been suspended after footage of the horrific incident was put online.
Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner is seen ramming his M-16, with both hands, into Danish national Andreas Ias’s face as activists took part in a bicycle rally in the occupied West Bank.
The video from Saturday’s incident shows him falling to the ground and then being carried away by activists.
Scroll down to see the video…
Smashed: Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner (left) is seen ramming his M-16, with both hands, into Danish national Andreas Ias’s face (right) as activists took part in a bicycle rally in the occupied West Bank
Brutal: In the video, the protester is not seen provoking the officer before he is smashed in the face
Ias was treated in a Palestinian hospital for ‘light injuries’ and today told Israeli media he was ‘well’.
He told Israel’s Channel 10 TV station: ‘We were just walking slowly towards the soldiers, we were chanting Palestinian songs calling for the liberation of Palestine. I don’t believe that’s a provocation.’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the officer’s actions.
He said: ‘This behaviour is not characteristic of IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers and commanders and it has no place in the IDF or in the state of Israel.’
But Israeli military spokesman Yoav Mordechai said that, although the officer’s behaviour was unacceptable and he had been suspended following an initial investigation, the edited video ‘did not reflect the whole story’.
He said: ‘These are harsh pictures, but I still can’t divorce the filmed episodes from the incident that lasted over an hour. It included violence by the anarchists and Palestinians, (though) this does not justify what we see.’
The incident came as Channel 10 broadcast a report on Sunday about how Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy and sanctions between the two countries completely break down.
Alon Ben-David said he spent several weeks with military pilots to gain a unique insight into Israel’s military thinking. He predicted no order would be given to strike before P5+1 talks resume in May.
But he added that, if negotiations failed and the order to attack was given, then ‘dozens if not more planes’ would attack.
He said: ‘The Israel Air Force does not have the capacity to destroy the entire Iranian programme. The result won’t be definitive.’
The attack, the channel said, would presumably trigger a war in northern Israel, with missile attacks. He added: ‘There will be no tranquility and peace anywhere in Israel.’
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