Daily Israel Report

Video: Danish Police Clubbing Protesters

Israel's leaders are desperate to appease Denmark over an altercation between an IDF officer and an activist – should they?
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/17/2012, 6:12 PM

Israel's power elite was quick to condemn Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner for striking a Danish protester with his rifle during a heated demonstration.

"Such behavior has no place in the Israeli defense forces or in the state of Israel," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

President Shimon Peres has expressed his "shock" at the incident.

Sources close to the government say Israel's leaders are anxious to avoid an "international incident."

However, the Danish foreign ministry has thus far only expressed "concern" and asked for "clarification" of the incident.

This video from Coppenhagen shows how the Danes themselves deal with peaceful protesters – by employing clubs and pepper spray.

Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner was suspended after a video emerged showing him striking Andreas Ias in the face with an M16 rifle as he tried to end a tense demonstration.

The incident happened on Saturday when a group of foreign and Arab cyclists sought to block a main road near Jericho to protest Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.

Critics of Eisner's suspension were quick to note the video of the incident uploaded to the internet was clearly edited in such a way as to cast Eisner in the worst possible light.

The altercation came at the end of nearly two hours of heated confrontation between protesters and soldiers, but the video began with Eisner striking Ias.

Eisner subsequently told military investigators that two of his fingers had been broken in an attack by the Danish campaigner before he retaliated with his weapon.

He remains suspended pending the outcome of the investigation into the incident.