UPDATE: 11:15 pm Wednesday. Explosions heard in Eshkol region of southern Israel from mortars fired at Israeli citizens.
UPDATE: 6:30 pm Wednesday. Yom Hashoach (Holocaust Memorial Day) begins in 30 minutes in Israel.
Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner was relieved of his command of the Jordan Valley Brigade this morning because of “operational and ethical failures.” The IDF also has specified that Eisner will not be eligible for promotion for the next two years, effectively making it impossible for him to be promoted to what was widely considered to be his next post as head of Bahad 1- the IDF Officers Training Academy. It is important to note that Lt. Col. Eisner was not dismissed or discharged from the IDF.
Given the fact that international darlings Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz made the decisions to relieve Eisner of command and deny him promotion, these decisions come as no surprise whatsoever.
What remains shocking however is that Barak and Gantz apparently have relied exclusively on 25 minutes of supposedly “raw footage” of the incident taken by Palestinian TV cameraman Bashar Abdul Hek–who admits he was filming in order to support the International Solidarity Movement–and Hek’s description of what happened.
And while the IDF claims that it now has “the full video”, Hek himself says that the “raw footage” is incomplete, disingenuously telling IDF investigators that he stopped filming “for a while”, ironically at the precise moment when International Solidarity Movement provocateurs attacked the IDF soldiers with sticks.
As for Andreas Las, the Danish “protestor” who was knocked down by Lt. Col. Eisner, there is still every reason to believe that it was Las who broke Lt. Col. Eisner’s fingers and fractured Eisner’s wrist. No evidence whatsoever has emerged to dispute Lt. Col. Eisner’s description of what happened (you can read his account in the israelstreet blog of two days ago).
Unfortunately, the entire episode is a metaphor for what has gone wrong with the IDF. Aggressive military commanders such as Yoav Gallant and Shalom Eisner have been replaced by a group of passive “military” leaders who cater to the international community–and put political correctness before the rights of IDF soldiers and the security of Israeli citizens.
And while those who would delegitimize Israel and work to undermine the country are cheering Ehud Barak and Benny Gantz today, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner–a soldier who has worked tirelessly for Israel’s defense–was left to summarize his feelings this afternoon:
“I have received received the ruling in the matter with a heavy heart. I’m physically and emotionally injured and I have to recuperate. I have to reconsider my future in the IDF, should I be offered another position. I will continue to protect the state of Israel.”