Israeli Soldier Recieves 18 Month Sentence For Murder Of Wounded Palestinian

By teleSUR, February 21, 2017. The victim’s family criticized the case as
a “show trial” distracting from a deep culture of impunity for
Israeli soldiers who execute Palestinians.

Israeli solider Sgt. Elor Azaria waits for the verdict inside the military
court in Tel Aviv, Israel on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (AP/Heidi Levine).
(REPORT) — An Israeli soldier who shot
dead a wounded Palestinian in an execution-style killing that a court deemed
revenge was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in jail for manslaughter, sparking
outrage among Palestinians and rights groups over Israel’s lenient treatment of
soldiers’ excessive use of force in occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli Sergeant Elor Azaria was
found guilty of manslaughter last month for putting a bullet in the head of
Palestinian man Abed Fatah Sharif as he was bleeding on the ground. Sharif had
been gunned down and incapacitated by Israeli soldiers after carrying out a
stabbing attack at a military checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron.
Eleven minutes after Sharif was
injured and unable to pose a threat to the soldiers, Azaria shot him dead at
close range. The incident was captured on video by a Palestinian activist
working with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Judge Maya Heller, who handed
down the sentence Tuesday in Tel Aviv, said Azaria has not expressed remorse
for the killing.
Azaria’s conviction carried a
maximum sentence of 20 years in jail. But the case also spurred a right-wing
backlash in Israel, with several staunchly conservative politicians calling for
the 20-year-old defendant to be pardoned.
The defense is expected to file
an appeal to attempt to block the sentence, scheduled to begin March 5, the
Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
Although Sharif’s family had
demanded a life sentence for Azaria and criticized the legal process as a “show
trial” to draw attention away from the larger problem of systemic impunity for
Israeli abuses and extrajudicial killings of Palestinians, they also said they
were not surprised by the court’s lenient treatment.
“We are not surprised, from the
onset we knew this was a show trial that will not do us justice,” said family
members in response to the sentencing, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
“The sentence he received is less than a Palestinian child gets for throwing
Members of the Palestine
Liberation Organization also slammed the light 18-month sentence.
“This sentencing demonstrates the
active devaluation of human life, especially the lives of Palestinians that
have been oppressed and held captive by an Israeli occupation for far too
long,” said PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi in a statement, adding
that the case demonstrates that the Israeli justice system for being corrupted
by “systemic racism, injustice and the culture of hate.”
Sharif’s family has previously
announced plans to take the case to the International Criminal Court.
Israel has been criticized by
several human rights bodies and even the United Nations for its systematic
extrajudicial killings of alleged attackers, who only had knives for weapons
and whose threat could have been neutralized without using deadly force.
A recent report from the
Palestinian Ma’an news agency found that more than 111 Palestinian were killed
in 2016, almost all of them at the hands of Israeli forces. According to the
report, 34 of the Palestinians killed, or 30.6 percent, were from the Hebron
district where Azaria shot Sharif dead in March.