Con­victed IDF sol­dier’s ap­peal re­fused

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

THE IDF ap­peals court on Sun­day unan­i­mously turned down the ap­peal of for­mer Sergeant Elor Azaria against his con­vic­tion of man­slaugh­ter for shoot­ing an in­ca­pac­i­tated Pales­tinian at­tacker in He­bron.

A ma­jor­ity of the five mil­i­tary judges up­held his sen­tence of 18 months in prison, while two were of the opin­ion that his sen­tence should be length­ened. Mr Azaria is to be­gin serv­ing his sen­tence next week in a mil­i­tary prison.

Mean­while, all at­ten­tion is now turned to the pos­si­bil­ity that he could re­ceive a par­don.

The rul­ing was em­phatic in strik­ing down all the claims made by Mr Azaria’s lawyer, Yo­ram Shef­tel, in­clud­ing the cen­tral one — that Azaria

Be­gins his sen­tence next week: Azaria be­lieved the wounded at­tacker may have been car­ry­ing a bomb. “The ap­pel­lant pre­pared him­self to shoot in a way that is rem­i­nis­cent of a fir­ing range, not the scene of a ter­ror at­tack which is about to hit again with a bomb,” the judges wrote.

They added: “The IDF is not an il­le­gal mili­tia, but an or­gan­ised army of de­fence be­long­ing to a state of law. Its fight­ers are or­dered to com­bat ter­ror­ists who try to kill them. But they must not set­tle scores with them once the dan­ger has passed. That it is the role of the law-en­force­ment sys­tem.”

The He­bron shoot­ing case has caused a great deal of po­lit­i­cal strife in Is­rael, in­clud­ing an open ar­gu­ment be­tween for­mer de­fence min­is­ter Moshe Yaalon, who un­re­servedly crit­i­cised the sol­dier’s con­duct, and Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, who was more equiv­o­cal. Politi­cians on the right, from the prime min­is­ter down­wards, have been call­ing for Azaria to be par­doned. On Sun­day, af­ter the rul­ing, Mr Ne­tanyahu said in a state­ment: “My opin­ion on par­don­ing Elor Azaria has not changed.”

In or­der for the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Gadi Eisenkot, to con­sider par­don­ing Mr Azaria, the sol­dier would first have to ac­cept his guilt and ex­press re­morse. So far, he has yet to do so and nei­ther his lawyer — who is plan­ning to re­quest per­mis­sion to ap­peal to the Supreme Court — nor his par­ents, have in­di­cated that he is in any way pre­pared to say he acted wrongly.

It is un­likely that the judges will ad­mit a right of ap­peal to the Supreme Court.


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