The Danish Foreign Ministry has asked Israel for clarifications over Saturday's incident in which Danish pro-Palestinian activist Andreas Ias was beaten with an M-16 rifle by senior IDF officer Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner.
Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal said Monday, "We are not aware of all the circumstances surrounding the incident. The Danish ambassador has asked the Israeli authorities for an immediate explanation."
The minister noted that he was informed that the IDF officer involved has been suspended and that an investigation has been launched. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the incident, and I agree with him," Soyndal said, adding that Ias (20) will receive all necessary consular assistance if he so wishes.
Danish ambassador to Israel Liselotte Plesner said she would relay any information provided by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Copenhagen. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the ambassador received all the information she had requested. "It's odd that the (Danish Foreign Ministry) decided to issue such a statement at this time," one Israeli official said.
Eisner was interrogated by Military Police investigators for the first time Monday evening.
Earlier, Lt.-Col. Eisner's sister told Ynet, "He tried to protect himself from a terror activist who disrupted his sacred work." The sister said the foreign activists broke her brother's wrist.
Eisner, the deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Territorial Brigade, said that after hearing of the foreign activists' intention to block Route 90 to protest restrictions on Palestinian movement in the area, he arrived at the scene and ordered the forces to prevent the blocking of the road.
"I explained to the activists that many travelers were using the road because of the holiday and that they are posing a major security risk," he said. Eisner noted he had acted in the same manner when groups of right-wing activists had tried to access the road for protests.
Lt. Col. Eisner claimed that some of the protesters attacked him with sticks and broke one of his fingers. He also suffered a major injury to his wrist, which required a cast. "The weapon was the only thing I had in my hands. The whole thing lasted 60 seconds, we prevented them from getting on the road and they boarded the bus. Obviously, they didn't show the part where they attacked us with sticks in the video."
The IDF maintains that the version posted on YouTube by members of the ISM organization was heavily edited and did not show the events leading up to the incident, in which, according to the army, the activists assaulted IDF soldiers.
Meanwhile, the foreign activists who were involved in the incident have decided to lodge a complaint with the Military Advocate General's Office with the help of The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).
Attorney Maisa Arshid of PCATI told Ynet that some of the soldiers who were at the scene assaulted the activists. She expressed hope that the soldiers would be prosecuted. "The activists and the Palestinians did not engage in any act of violence and did not provoke the soldiers," the attorney claimed.
"They are regular civilians who merely wanted to hold a peaceful bicycle procession. If (Eisner) claims he was beaten with a stick, he should present medical documentation which proves it. How could he have continued beating the activists with a broken finger?"
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