17 April 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
For Immediate Release
April 17, 2012: Cyclists attacked by soldier in the Jordan Valley seek legal action
Danish activist Andreas was attacked by Israeli commander Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner during an unarmed demonstration in the Jordan Valley on April 14th. (See video). Dutch activist Mira and a Palestinian man also suffered injuries following an assault by Eisner, Swedish activist Alex was handcuffed and detained for over one hour during the incident. The action involved some two hundred people riding bikes along Route-90 which connects Israeli settlements, which are recognized as illegal by the International Court of Justice. Organized by the Sharek Youth Forum, the cycling event was to raise awareness of the restrictions on Palestinian movement and the human rights violations of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley. According to the organization, Palestinian cars are frequently detained, searched, or refused entry on Route-90 where the event was held.
Andreas, Mira, Alex, and the Palestinian man are working with attorney Meissa Irshaid from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel to ensure that the testimony of these bike tour participants is represented in the assault case against Lt.-Col Eisner.
“Israeli soldiers blocked the road for all of the cyclists and quickly resorted to violent force to intimidate us from cycling on Route 90. Lt-Col Eisner beat me with his M-16 without provocation,” Andreas stated. Mira was also struck in the face by Eisner’s gun. The two were evacuated to hospital and Andreas received stitches in his lip.
The attack on the cyclists was publicly condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an April 15th news article published in Haaretz. In response to this public action taken by Netanyahu, Andreas says, “this is widespread phenomena across the West Bank. Dozens of protesters have been killed or violently injured for participating in peaceful protests against the theft of their land and the ongoing military occupation.”
Furthermore, Andreas argues, “it isn’t just internationals that deserve human rights in Palestine, all attacks by Israel should be condemned equally.”
The activists will continue work with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank while pursuing legal action against the April 14th incident with the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.