Israeli Soldier Gets 18 Months for Killing Palestinian Attacker

An Israeli soldier who shot and killed a wounded Palestinian, who was incapaciated having already been gunned down, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for manslaughter.

Prosecutors had demanded a three to five year sentence but the panel of three judges decided such a punishment would be too severe.

Sergeant Elor Azaria, an IDF medic, shot disabled terrorist Abdel Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron in March, in an incident captured on camera by a resident and published by human rights group B'Tselem.

During the military court's sentencing on Tuesday, supporters of Azaria gathered outside IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, hailing him as a hero.

It was not immediately clear if Azaria's lawyers, who had said after the verdict last month that they meant to appeal his conviction, would still proceed along that path.

The graphic shooting video, which was filmed by a Palestinian cameraman from B'Tselem rights group, went viral and sparked global rage. They have long accused Israel of using excessive force against lightly armed assailants and harboured few expectations soldiers would be held accountable.

At the sentencing, Chief Judge Maya Heller said that Azaria "took upon himself to be both judge and executioner".

It was not immediately clear if Azaria's lawyers, who had said after the verdict last month that they meant to appeal his conviction, would still proceed along that path.

Many Israeli leaders and people have shown support for the soldier, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and prominent hard-line politicians have called for the soldier to be pardoned.

  • Leroy Wright