- Published on Monday, 16 April 2012 10:56
On Sunday, April 15th, Israeli soldiers aggressively assaulted a group of cyclists who were participating in a tour in the West Bank. 400 Palestinians and around 150 international peace activists participated in the tour through the Jordan Valley.
A video documenting the brutal attack by a high ranking officer, Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner, the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley bridge. Lt. Col. Eisner is shown hitting an international activist with his rifle. Other activists say they had been acting in a peaceful manner and had not provoked the attack. Lt. Col. Eisner has since been suspended from his post.
Lt. Col. Eisner has offered his version of the events, saying, "I explained to the activists that many travellers were using the road because of the holiday and that they are posing a major security risk." Lt. Col Eisner claimed that earlier in the day he had prevented right-wing Israeli activists from protesting on the same road.
Israeli soldiers stopped around 250 participants near the Jericho village of al-Oja and refused to let them start the cycling tour. The tour was organized jointly by Sharek, a local youth group, and officials from al-Oja environment center.
When participants protested against military orders preventing them from starting the tour, soldiers used force against them. Seven Palestinians were injured and three of them were transferred to the government hospital in Jericho after suffering beatings by Israeli soldiers using guns. Two international activists were detained for two hours.
The Israeli army claimed that the attack happened because the activists penetrated a closed military area, and that they used violence against Israeli soldiers and Lt. Col. Eisner. An Israeli army spokesman said that Brigadier General Nitzan Alon has ordered an investigation into this incident.