JUSTICE: Israeli Soldier Convicted Of Manslaughter

Netanyahu backs calls for convicted Israeli soldier to be pardoned

The shooting was caught on video by a Palestinian rights activist, and the footage, distributed to news organizations, ensured that the rare case of an active serviceman being charged, drew international attention.

After the assailant stabbed and wounded a fellow soldier in the West Bank town of Hebron.  As the man, who had been wounded minutes earlier by Israeli military gunfire, lay motionless in the street, Elor Azaria shot the Palestinian in the head at short range.  Now he has been  was convicted of manslaughter by an Israeli military court.

“He deserves to die,” Chief Judge Colonel Maya Heller was quoted in the verdict as telling another soldier, just after fatally shooting the Palestinian in the head

Politicians from right-wing parties have already called on President Reuven Rivlin to pardon the soldier, who has been dubbed “everyone’s child” by the campaign supporting him.

 The manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.  However, Ntanyahu’s  pro-settler far right movement, emboldened by Trump’s imminent inauguration, has been pushing Netanyahu’s rightwing government go annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories.on and now wants  Azaria pardoned. 

From The Guardian: Among the earliest calling for a pardon was the leader of the far-right Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett. Describing the trial as politically “contaminated from the beginning”, Bennett said: “Today a soldier who killed a terrorist who deserved to die, who tried to slaughter [another] soldier, was placed in shackles and convicted as a criminal.”

Israel’s culture minister, Miri Regev – a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party – said she would also work to win a pardon. “That’s not how you act toward a soldier [who belongs] to all of us,” she said.

However, the defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman – who has previously supported Azaria – said he “didn’t like the verdict” but Israelis should respect it.

Azaria’s defence team said it would appeal against the verdict, and a family spokesman said the court had ignored evidence indicating the soldier was innocent. “It was like the court was detached from the fact that this was the area of an attack,” said Sharon Gal. “I felt that the court picked up the knife from the ground and stabbed it in the back of all the soldiers.”

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