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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

IDF realizes it made a mistake with Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner

I'm sure many of you recall Shalom Eisner, the IDF Lieutenant Colonel who was caught on camera slamming his rifle butt into the face of a Danish 'peace activist' member of the terror-supporting International Solidarity Movement who was part of an illegal 'bike ride' in the Jordan Valley. Eisner has been sued in a civil action by one of the terror supporters who was hurt in the incident. And the State of Israel is taking the unusual step of defending him.
A military court in December convicted Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, in a plea bargain, of beating five Palestinians and foreign activists with both his rifle and fists during a demonstration in April 2012. Some of the demonstrators, including Naim Shakir, 36, of Al-Sawiya, needed medical treatment. Al-Shakir filed a suit in June seeking 16,000 shekels ($4,620) in medical costs, plus 60,000 shekels ($17,320) to cover his lost earnings.
Eisner – then a deputy brigade commander – hit Shakir in the back with the butt of his rifle, according to the military court verdict, during a confrontation between demonstrators protesting Israel's presence in the West Bank and soldiers. As a result, Shakir said in his suit, he needed physiotherapy. He also still suffers pain that affects his functioning and has impaired his ability to work in construction.
At his sentencing hearing last December, Eisner acknowledged he had “made mistakes” during the confrontation, but noted that the demonstrators had injured him as well: He suffered a broken hand.
The state denies Shakir's right to compensation. "The claimant's injuries, if they occurred at all, are exaggerated and not related at all to the actions of the defendant," the state asserts. If the plaintiff receives any financial compensation, the defense statement reads, "The defendants have the right to deduct for damages caused to them, including damages to Defendant 1 (Eisner) … including pain, suffering and emotional distress."
The state asserts that Shakir was an integral part of the rioters, "who violated law and order maliciously and intentionally in a violent way." The defense counter concludes that therefore Shakir should not only be held accountable for his own injuries but also for "much greater bodily damage" caused to Lt. Col. Eisner.
The state took an unusual step in defending an officer convicted of beating demonstrators in a civil suit. When policeman Salman Abu Asla was convicted of beating two demonstrators at an illegal settlement outpost in 2007, the state refused to represent him in a damages suit filed over the same incident. Similarly, it refused to defend a border policeman convicted of beating an ultra-Orthodox demonstrator in Beit Shemesh in another civil suit.
Maybe because the State finally recognizes that it made a mistake in dismissing, and in not defending Lieutenant Colonel Eisner. Most Israelis believe it was wrong to dismiss him.  Much more on Eisner here.

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