Israeli leaders call for pardon of soldier who shot subdued terrorist

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has joined calls for an Israeli soldier to be pardoned after being convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a severely wounded Palestinian attacker in the West Bank city of Hebron last year.

As soon as the verdict was handed down on Wednesday at the end of one of the country’s most polarising court cases in recent memory, there were calls from Israeli ministers demanding that Sgt Elor Azaria, an army medic who was 19 at the time of the shooting, be granted an immediate pardon by the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, as others accused the Israeli military of abandoning the soldier.

In a short statement, Netanyahu said: “This is a difficult 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.

“We have one army, which is the basis of our existence. The soldiers of the IDF are our sons and daughters, and they need to remain above dispute.”

The three-judge military court sitting in Tel Aviv said Azaria had acted outside the military’s rules of engagement when he killed Abdel Fattah al-Sharif by shooting him in the head as he lay on the ground, shortly after Sharif and another Palestinian had stabbed and wounded a soldier at an Israeli military checkpoint.

Reading for more than two hours from the verdict, the chief judge, Col Maya Heller, said Azaria shot Sharif out of revenge. The court ruled that accounts of the incident that he had given were “unreliable and problematic” and his defence contradictory and flawed.
A famous Texas defense lawyer, Percy Foreman, got several of his clients off by making the case that the SOB deserved to die.   I don't know if that would work in Israel, but it appears in the minds of many Israelis and leaders that should be the case.

What you do lose with summary executions is what is in the terrorist's head.  Who put him up to it and who were his accomplices.  It is like finding the enemy's computer and destroying its hard drive before examining its content.


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