Elor Azaria verdict: 'No justice for Palestinians'

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Tuesday 21st February 2017 20:33:13 in English News by Xafiiska Burco
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    Elor Azaria verdict: 'No justice for Palestinians'

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Elor Azaria verdict: 'No justice for Palestinians'

Nazareth -Human rightsgroups and Palestinian leaders have condemned what they called the "extremely lenient" punishment of Elor Azaria, the Israeli army medic who was filmed executing a severely wounded Palestinian in Hebron last year.

On Tuesday, a military tribunalsentenced the soldierto 18 months in jail and a demotion, nearly a year afterhe shota bullet from close range into the head of 21-year-old Abdel al-Fattah al-Sharif.

There has rarely been a trial in Israel where the judges have been under such relentless - and mostly hostile - scrutiny. That appeared to be reflected in their sentencing, more than a month after they foundAzaria guiltyof manslaughter.

The sentence was much lower than the three to five years demanded by the prosecution, and far below the maximum tariff of 20 years. One of the three judges dissented, recommending two and a half to five years.

"Azaria should have received a life sentence. This will not act as a deterrence to other trigger-happy soldiers,"Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, told Al Jazeera."There are thousands of other soldiers who have killed Palestinians, but are not on trial. Israeli pilots dropped bombs on schools and hospitals in Gaza [in the 2014 war]. Why are they not on trial, too?"

READ MORE: Elor Azaria case - 'No hope of equality before the law'

He calledIsraela "democracy of guns", adding: "The real author of the crimes against Palestinians is the Israeli state. By putting one individual on trial, Israel hopes to confer legitimacy on the whole apparatus of state-sanctioned killing."

Even before the sentencing, Azaria's lawyers had said they would appeal the verdict. If that fails, they have vowed to seek a pardon. Education Minister Naftali Bennett immediately backed a pardon for Azaria.

For Palestinians, the trial was viewed as little more than a farce. The family of Sharif said that Azaria had carried out a "cold-blooded execution", not manslaughter. They added: "The sentence he received is less than a Palestinian child gets for throwing stones."

Azaria shot Sharif more than 10 minutes after the Palestinian had been severely wounded by other soldiers at a checkpoint and waslying helplesson the ground.