In an unexpected but welcome move, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Wednesday dismissed Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner from his position for beating a Danish peace activist with butt of M-16 rifle on the last weekend. The officer was earlier suspended for the crime. A high-power inquiry committee was constituted shortly after the incident to ascertain facts. The committee, in its reports, blames the operational failures for such an untoward incident.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz decided to dismiss the officer following the inquiry report. Human rights activists and international organizations working for peace and stability in the region are hailing the bold decision of the IDF chief. The officer has also been barred from carrying out any executive position in the IDF for next two years. Commenting on the incident, Eisner regretted on Tuesday for beating the peace activist in front of cameras.
Shortly after the incident, human rights activists termed it a "barbaric act" and demanded a thorough investigation to ascertain facts and fix responsibility of the crime. The peace activist who was thrashed was member of a peace activists group and wanted to highlight plight of Palestinians by organizing a peaceful bike tour. Israel andhave never been at good terms with each other for certain reasons, and the international community has been struggling to establish peace and stability in the region.
The thrashing of a peace activist was indeed a shameful act and Eisner was also caught on videotape. The same footage was broadcast by private television channels of Palestine for a number of times. Prime Ministercondemned 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 protests against the US rather their visit was aimed at laying foundations for a school, mural paintings and helping villagers in planting trees. We hope the recent incident will serve as a lesson for the IDF and necessary training will also be imparted to soldiers to avoid recurrence of such mishaps.