Soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces stopped and got mean with pro-Palestinian protesters who were on a bike ride through the Jordan Valley on Saturday. One unarmed man was smashed in the face with the butt of a rifle, an act that drew praise from supporters of Israel on comment boards around the Web.
See widely viewed footage of the incident below. —ARK
Larry Derfner at Salon:
About 250 Palestinians and Western sympathizers had been on a protest bike ride when [Lt. Col. Shalom] Eisner and his men tried to break it up. He said the protesters had attacked them with sticks, and was photographed later with his hand bandaged, saying a protester had broken a couple of his fingers. The protesters, though, said they’d done nothing but ride their bikes when the soldiers went after them.
Whatever the truth, the YouTube [clip] looked terrible for Israel, and nothing could justify Eisner’s act. He apologized, the army called it a “grave” incident and suspended him. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu said: “This kind of behavior does not represent Israeli soldiers or officers, and it is not acceptable in the Israeli army or the State of Israel.”
Well-l-l-l-l… The talkbacks and Facebook seemed considerably more pro-Eisner than anti-, with endless variations of “The only purpose in these scumbags’ lives is to instigate, and create mayhem. If the soldier hit this bum, he deserved it.” (From “tough jew” on The Jerusalem Post’s talkbacks.) One of Israel’s 120 Knesset members, Michael Ben-Ari, who is banned from entering the U.S. because of his affiliation with the outlawed, violently anti-Arab Kach party, actually said: “Well done. … Radical leftists must be handled with a heavy hand.”