Court convicts Israeli soldier who killed wounded Palestinian attacker

Jan 06, 2017, 00:41
Court convicts Israeli soldier who killed wounded Palestinian attacker

Most Israelis support granting a pardon to Sgt Elor Azaria, who was convicted on Wednesday of manslaughter and conduct unbecoming over the shooting of an immobilised Palestinian assailant in the West Bank city of Hebron last March.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a pardon for the Israeli soldier who shot a downed Palestinian terrorist.

Although there was a demonstration outside the court, as the three-hour verdict was delivered, some top Israeli military figures said the 20-year-old's actions did not reflect the values of the IDF and violated the rules of engagement and operational procedure.

But others, mostly politicians on the right, have argued that Azaria's actions were justified and that he should never have faced prosecution for killing a terror suspect.

"This is a hard and painful day for all of us - and first and foremost for Elor and his family, for IDF soldiers, for many soldiers and for the parents of our soldiers, and me among them", Netanyahu said in a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter.

"This is a hard and painful day for all of us, and first and foremost for Elor and his family, for IDF soldiers, for many soldiers and for the parents of our soldiers, and me among them".

The trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria for the killing of Palestinian Abdel Fattah al-Sharif was closely watched in Israel.

The quantum of Azaria's sentence has not been announced, but he could face up to 20 years in prison.

TRT World's James Champion has more.

A security detail has been assigned to the three military judges who unanimously convicted the soldier after a wave of invective and incitement on social media following the conviction. She said she would push for Azaria to be pardoned.

Safa said that Israeli occupation forces, accompanied by bulldozers, surrounded the Palestinian home for more than three hours before they made a decision to withdraw without carrying out the demolition.

A poll by the government-supporting newspaper Israel Hayom found that around 70 percent of Israelis favor a pardon for Azaria.

Azaria will be sentenced in the coming weeks. "The claim has collapsed, I'm sure he will be acquitted", Liberman said, accusing Yaalon of "pre-determining the results of the military investigation".

Mr Azaria's demeanour drastically changed as the judge read the verdict.

The trial has garnered a lot of attention and proved to be divisive.

The incident occurred during a tensed time between Israelis and Palestinians, amidst a spate of violence in the West Bank and Israel. Later he said that the terrorist was already dead before Azaria opened fire.

Before he became defence minister in May, Avigdor Lieberman was among those showing strong support for Azaria, including attending one of his court appearances. The Israeli soldier who had been attacked suffered a minor injury.

"Israeli law enforcement system, including the military justice system, fulfilling its role independently, impartially and devoid of bias, and according to legal and professional considerations only", said Mandelblit.

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