Israeli military officers remain in the news and headlines of newspapers but most of the time for all wrong reasons. Sometimes it appears as if the Israeli military lacks proper training to deal with civilians and Palestinian protestors. Top brass of the army suspended a senior officer for beating a Danish pro-Palestinian activist with butt of M-16 rifle. The act is indeed barbaric and needs to be investigated thoroughly to ascertain facts behind such attitude of the soldiers. The victim was member of a peace activists group who wanted to highlight plight of Palestinians by organizing a peaceful bike tour.
Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner was caught on videotape while assaulting the peace activist and the same footage was broadcast by private television channels of. Prime Minister condemned the incident shortly after the footage was released and also ordered an inquiry to ascertain further facts behind the mishap. Around 200 Palestinians took part in the cycling rally to express solidarity with their compatriots who are discriminated and assaulted by the Israeli forces.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of police personnel were alerted by the Israeli government at Ben-Gurion International Airport to prevent entry of pro-Palestine peace activists into the West Bank. Interior Ministry of Israel said that as many as 1,500 foreign activists from at least 15 countries were planning to enter Bethlehem in the West Bank for weeklong peaceful activities. The Israeli government termed the activists as provocateurs and banned their entry to the country to avoid any ‘untoward incident.’
Around 50 passengers were detained and interrogated while nine others were deported immediately. The airlines were given lists of people to be dropped and were also even threatened of dire consequences if they did not observe instructions of the government. Organizers of the activists said they were not planning any protest demonstrations against the US rather their visit was aimed at laying foundations for a school, mural paintings and helping villagers in planting trees.
Israel and Palestine have virtually been at loggerheads with each other since 1967 when they fought first war. Palestine and some other Arab countries as well believe Israel has encroached on their land its existence in the region is illegitimate. During the 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem – a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Israel has been using violence and force against Palestinian to keep its control over the occupied area.
As a champion of human rights, civilian and military leadership of Israel should pay a special heed to such incidents and devise a viable strategy to avert the recurrence. The prime minister has taken a wise step to suspend the officer for his alleged assault to the peace activist. The military personnel should be trained on sensitivities attached to different issues especially the human one.