Video of Israeli officer hitting Danish protester sparks outrage

Danish foreign minister demands explanation after IDF officer filmed smashing protester in the face

LAST UPDATED AT 14:44 ON Tue 17 Apr 2012

THE DANISH foreign minister has demanded an explanation after a senior Israel Defence Forces officer was filmed smashing his rifle into the face of a Danish protester.

The incident happened during a bicycle ride attended by Palestinian and international activists in the Jordan Valley near Jericho on Saturday.

Footage (below) posted on YouTube shows Lieutenant Colonel Shaul Eisner, apparently unprovoked, striking Andreas Ias, a pro-Palestinian Danish protester, with his M-16 rifle.

After the video was broadcast on Israeli TV, condemnation was swift.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Such behaviour is not characteristic of the soldiers and commanders of the IDF. It has no place in the IDF and the state of Israel."

Eisner has been suspended by the IDF, whose Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz said the attack would be investigated and "treated with the utmost severity".

Danish foreign minister Villy Sovndal said: "We don't yet know the circumstances surrounding the episode. The Danish ambassador has therefore immediately asked the Israeli authorities for a report."

Ias, meanwhile, told the Jerusalem Post that he didn't expect so much fuss over the incident. "It's surprising to me that there's this big reaction," he said, observing that while he had been in the West Bank he had seen similar things happen "all the time".

 · 

Disqus - noscript

Can you imagine how they treat Palestinians, if assaulting an unarmed Danish cyclist causes such despicable behaviour from a so-called professional soldier. Let there be no doubt about how Israeli soldiers behave daily in their interaction with Palestinians. And this one is not even a youngster. What kind of example is this, what kind of roll model? Israelis should not feel bad when they are labled as Neo-Nazis and Fascists, because that's what they are. They've learnt from the WW2 experience. They just happen to have more deadly weaponry. That's the only difference

Humiliation of Palestinians is an IDF habit.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.