IDF officer hitting activist with M-16 370.
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
An IDF senior officer was captured on videotape beating a left-wing activist in the face with his M-16 rifle.
According to the video, posted Sunday on YouTube by the International Solidarity Movement, Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade is seen taking his M-16 and slamming it in the face of a blond haired activist.
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon ordered the opening of an investigation into the incident. Upon receiving the preliminary results of the investigation Sunday night, Alon decided to suspend Eisner until the completion of the probe.
In addition, the Military Advocate-General's office decided to open a criminal investigation in to the incident, which IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Sunday evening was not representative of the IDF's ethics and morals and would be fully investigated and treated with the utmost gravity.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the actions of the officer Sunday night, saying that "this behavior does not characterize IDF officers and soldiers, and it has no place in the IDF or in the place of Israel."
Such violence by a senior officer is rare in the West Bank and soldiers serving in the West Bank are generally trained to show restraint during demonstrations or civil disturbances.
According to the Palestinians, the incident took place on Saturday during a cycling tour around the Jordan Valley by European, Israeli and Palestinian activists.
The Wafa news agency said that the IDF stopped the 250 participants along Road 90 near the West Bank village of al Ouja and refused to allow them to continue. When the cyclists refused, scuffles broke out. A number of the participants in the demonstration were injured and taken to hospital in Jericho. The IDF arrested a number of the activists.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.