Israeli Soldier Convicted of Manslaughter
by Stephen Lendman
In March 2016, Israeli sergeant Elor Azaiar Elor Azaria murdered ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif in cold blood as he lay helpless, wounded on the ground.
Video evidence showed Azaria lethally shooting al-Sharif in the head at point-blank range. Another nearby soldier said he “did the right thing.”
He was charged with manslaughter instead of obvious first-degree murder. Polls show most Israelis opposed his arrest, consider him a hero.
More than half of Israelis support “on-the-spot” extrajudicial executions of Palestinians accused of attempting to harm Israelis, true or false, even if they pose no threat.
If video footage of Azaria’s high crime hadn’t gone viral, he never would have been charged, tried and convicted. Rarely ever are Israeli soldiers or civilians charged with criminality committed against Palestinians - no matter how heinous the offense. They happen multiple times daily, nearly always unaccountably.
Azaria is the exception proving the rule. Sentencing comes later, a likely appeal to follow. Justice Maya Heller was unforgiving, rejecting the defense’s absurd claims that ‘Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif was dead when shot, yet Azaria felt threatened, a clear contradiction.
Saying “you can’t have it both ways,” she also cited his statement after the killing that the terrorist (sic) “deserves to die.” He knew he committed murder, lethally shooting a defenseless victim, lying helpless on the ground.
Whatever the outcome of his case, even if ordered imprisoned, he won’t likely stay there long. He’ll likely be quietly released at some point to go on with his life. The one he took got no second chance to live.
A Final Comment
Azaria’s case is a footnote in the deplorable history of Israeli harsh treatment of Palestinians - slow-motion genocide, longstanding policy for maximum land and minimum Arabs, ruthless Nuremberg-level crimes committed unaccountably for decades.
One conviction changes nothing. Persecuting Palestinians viciously continues undeterred. Israel should stand trial in an independent tribunal, its rogue officials brought to justice for high crimes too heinous to ignore.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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