Another brutal attack on a cyclist Saturday is documented at Pal Reports Nablus
The shocking video of the Israeli lieutenant colonel smashing a Danish cyclist in the face with a rifle is already playing out in a different way from countless other Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories. To begin with, according to the Hebrew press, it was shown repeatedly on Israeli televisions news last night.
Also, it is highly unusual that the army chief of staff and Prime Minister would react to the incident after a couple of hours, as they did in condemning the officer's actions. In other cases, they have defended Israeli aggression; look at the Mavi Marmara attack in May 2010.
In this case the video is just that compelling. Although the video and these still photographs on the Internet were highly condemnatory, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner through friends maintains that he acted appropriately. Eisner claimed that he was provoked by activists who had assaulted him with sticks which caused multiple hand fractures prior to his assault. Even the army does not seem to be buying into this story.
His knitted skullcap will be the icing on the cake. Eisner is seen wearing a knitted kipah (skullcap) often associated with the right-wing religious settler movement. The indifference shown by the other soldiers is enough to even shock some pro-Israel types. It could get wild.
Meantime, two prominent rabbis have issued statements of support for the suspended officer. The IDF is trying to get the unedited recording of the event, which the Israelis claim lasted about 2 hours.
In a highly unusual and swift reaction, the Israeli authorities suspended the main attacker, Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner, from his army duties only hours after the video appeared. Eisner’s actions were harshly condemned by both the Army Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to Ma’an News and the International Solidarity Movement, the cycling tour was organized by the Palestinian group, Sharak Youth Forum, to protest against the discrimination and land confiscations which Palestinians and Bedouin suffer at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.
According to Ynet the incident occurred on Saturday. The activists who numbered between 60 and 200 according to differing reports were attempting to bicycle on Route 90, the main north/south artery in the Jordan Valley. The road is designated for Jewish travelers only.
The cyclists and their support team were composed of internationals and Palestinians. As a result of the incident a Palestinian, a Dutch national and a Dane were hospitalized. The extent of their injuries has not been reported. A Swedish activist who was detained by the Israelis was released after an hour. Numerous other Israeli soldiers are seen on the video manhandling the demonstrators.