IDF Prosecutors: Evidence Against Soldier Who Shot Subdued Palestinian Strong Enough for Indictment

Military prosecution expected to decide on charges after receiving Palestinian assailant's autopsy results on Sunday.

Sergeant E. at military court.
Ilan Assayag

The military prosecution believes that the evidence so far collected regarding the soldier who shot a wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron is strong enough to support an indictment.

The prosecution will be able decide what charges are to be brought against the soldier after receiving the report of the autopsy, which is to take place on Sunday at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine. If the autopsy shows that the Palestinian, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, was still alive when the soldier shot him, as the evidence, including testimony from the shooter himself, indicates, the soldier is expected to be indicted for manslaughter.

The military court of appeals at the Israel Defense Forces' headquarters in Tel Aviv heard the prosecution’s appeal on Friday of the decision to release the soldier, whose identity is under gag order and is being referred to as Sergeant E., to open arrest at his base. It was ultimately decided, with the consent of the military prosecutors and the soldier’s defense team, to keep him at the Nahshonim base where his division is headquartered. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

The prosecution said in Friday’s hearing that the evidence clearly shows what happened and contradicts the soldier’s claim that he fired because he felt his life to be in danger. 

According to chief military prosecutor Col. Sharon Pinhas-Zagagi, contrary to the ruling of the judge at the lower military court in Jaffa, Lt. Col. Ronen Shor, the evidence was not ambiguous but rather “presented a very clear picture of what happened during the incident.” 

Pinhas-Zagagi said the video footage of the incident “speak like a thousand witnesses.” 

Testimonies of soldiers and commanders at the scene, who quoted Sergeant E. as saying the terrorist “must die” and “deserved to die” because he had stabbed his friend, also support the prosecution’s case. 

However, according to the soldier’s attorneys, their client had followed the rules of engagement. During Friday’s hearing, one of the soldier's attorneys, Eyal Baserglick, said his client “had not intended to murder or kill, he had intended to save [the lives of his comrades].”