Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Israeli court convicts IDF soldier who killed immobilized Palestinian

On Wednesday, a three-judge Israeli military court convicted Sgt. Elor Azaria of manslaughter for fatally shooting a 21-year-old Palestinian attacker who had already been stripped of his knife and immobilized by Israeli forces. The March 24 incident in the West Bank town of Hebron, following a knife attack on an Israeli solider by Abdul Fattah al-Sharif and a friend, was captured on film and released by an Israeli human rights group. In the video, Azaria, 20, is seen shooting a motionless but breathing Sharif in the head from several yards away; a fellow Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier testified at the high-profile trial that Azaria had told him that Sharif "deserves to die."

The trial divided Israel, with far-right protesters and politicians urging Azaria be released and top military officials stating that the soldier's actions did not reflect IDF values. The chief judge, Col. Maya Heller, read from the verdict for more than two hours, saying Azaria had killed Sharif out of revenge and "one cannot use this type of force, even if we're talking about an enemy's life." The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 20 years in prison.