U.N. of­fice: Is­raeli sol­dier got off easy

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

GENEVA — The United Na­tions hu­man-rights of­fice said Fri­day that it’s “deeply dis­turbed” by the “le­nient” 18-month prison sen­tence handed down by a Tel Aviv mil­i­tary court against an Is­raeli sol­dier who killed a badly wounded Palestinian as­sailant as he lay on the ground af­ter he had stabbed an­other sol­dier.

Spokesman Rav­ina Sham­dasani of the rights of­fice con­demned Fri­day a “chronic cul­ture of im­punity” in Israel when it comes to sol­diers in­volved in the con­flict with Pales­tini­ans.

Sgt. Elor Azaria was sen­tenced Tues­day for man­slaugh­ter in the March shoot­ing of Ad­belfat­tah al-Sharif, who was wounded af­ter he stabbed a sol­dier in the volatile West Bank city of He­bron.

Is­raeli of­fi­cials strongly re­jected her re­marks. “It has been proven again that with the dis­torted eth­i­cal com­pass of the hu­man rights coun­cil one bul­let that Azaria fired at a ter­ror­ist is worse than mil­lions of bul­lets that mur­der in­no­cent peo­ple in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Ye­men,” De­fense Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man wrote on Face­book.

The sen­tenc­ing cul­mi­nated a nearly year­long saga that has bit­terly di­vided Israel, where mil­i­tary ser­vice is com­pul­sory and sup­port for young sol­diers is wide­spread. While Israel’s top gen­er­als pushed for the pros­e­cu­tion of a sol­dier who they say vi­o­lated the mil­i­tary’s code of ethics, large seg­ments of the public, in­clud­ing politi­cians on Israel’s na­tion­al­ist right, sided with Azaria.

AP/LEO COR­REA

Revel­ers take part in the Carmeli­tas street party, Fri­day, in Rio de Janeiro. Mer­ry­mak­ers take to the streets in hun­dreds of open-air “bloco” par­ties dur­ing Rio’s over-the-top Car­ni­val, the high­light of the year for many.

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