B’Tselem – an Israeli human rights organization – released additional tapes Friday showing recently dismissed Lt.- Col. Shalom Eisner hitting three activists with his M-16 rifle during a Jordan Valley rally last weekend.
In one eight minute tape, shot by Palestinian TV 2, bicycle riders are seen chanting and waving Palestinian flags as they stand behind an army jeep at a junction leading to Route 90 a week ago Saturday.
Some have unfurled signs stating: “Stop Ethnic cleansing.” Around one minute and 30 seconds into the tape, shot by Palestinian television, an organizer calls on international cyclists to gather.
Half a dozen soldiers move into a line as the cyclists appear to try and force their way forward.
One cyclist hits a solider with his bicycle, as the cyclist tries to ride past him.
The soldier pushes the cyclist back and takes his bicycle.
Almost at the same time, Eisner, who is standing to the right and holding his rifle with two hands like a baton in front of him, hits a female cyclist in the chest as she stands by her bicycle wrapped in a Palestinian flag.
Yelling at the cyclist to move, Eisner then slams his rifle into the face of Danish activist Andreas Ias.
Eisner then turns to slam his rifle into the back of an activist who is trying to move his bicycle out of the way. A soldier who looks like him, but is less clear, is also seen pushing an activist against the side of a vehicle.
Already on Wednesday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz dismissed Eisner from his post as deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade, after a two-minute video posted on YouTube showed him hitting Ias.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres condemned his actions. The initial short two-minute video generated an enormous amount of discussion in the the media as well as among the Israeli public. Opinions were split in favor and against Eisner. Those who supported Eisner were concerned that the public had seen only one tape that caught a few moments of a larger incident.
The tapes B’Tselem released Friday showed a more extended version of the incident, although only one B’Tselem tape appears to show the brief moments of violence.
A very long tape shows the cyclists heading toward the junction as well as interviews in Arabic with the cyclists, some of whom were foreigners and others who were Palestinians, as they headed out on what was to have been a 20- km. ride.
Their path was blocked by the IDF who placed a jeep in front of their path, by Route 90. For a few minutes, the cyclists gathered there, waving Palestinian flags and chanting, sometimes in Arabic and other times in English.
They called out, “one, two, three, four, Israel is a fascist state,” “one, two, three, four, occupation no more” and “free, free Palestine.”