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Israeli Soldier Sentenced to 18 Months for Deadly Shooting of Wounded Palestinian Attacker

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Elor Azaria in court, Tel Aviv, February 21, 2017.
Elor Azaria in court, Tel Aviv, February 21, 2017. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Ya'alon blames politicians for taking advantage of Azaria trial

Former Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon commented on Azaria's sentence in a video posted on his Facebook page Tuesday.

"Today, now that the sentence was given it can be said that the IDF and the Azaria family were seriously hurt by politicians that betrayed their positions," Ya'alon said. "The criminal trial that soldier Elior and his family endured was hard to bare and was supposed to look differently. The reason it went long the way it did in a way that made it more difficult for all those involved was the cynical use of the incident by interested politicians, who used it for their own political gain."

Defense Minister Lieberman: All sides must respect verdict

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that everyone must respect the verdict and the sentence, adding that the army must also support Azaria and his family." The defense minister added that "on the one hand there is an excellent soldier, on the other a terrorist who came to kill Jews, and we need to take both of these into account." Read full story

Opposition backs IDF, say Azaria was 'victim of circumstances'

Opposition chairman MK Isaac Herzog said Azaria was a "victim of impossible diplomatic circumstances. The government, defense minister, IDF and defense officials must now work to prevent the next such incident."

MK Yair Lapid, who heads the centrists Yesh Atid party, said politicians should not intervene in the military court's proceedings and voiced his support for the IDF chief of staff and the army court, both of which have been criticized by Azaira supporters, sparking fears of violence. Read full story

Family of attacker blast sentence: A Palestinian stone thrower gets more time

The family of Abdel Fatah al-Sharif, the Palestinian assailant shot dead by the Israeli soldier after being wounded during an attack in Hebron, blasted Israel's military courts for what they called the lenient sentence for Elor Azaria, the soldier convicted of shooting the supine assailant.

"We are not surprised, from the onset we knew this was a show trial that will not do us justice... The sentence he received is less than a Palestinian child gets for throwing stones." Read full story

The father and mother of Palestinian Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, who was shot dead as he lay on the ground by Elor Azaria , watch on television the verdict of Azaria, Hebron, Feb. 21, 2017.Credit: HAZEM BADER/AFP

Azaria to start serving his sentence on March 5th

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria will start serving his 18 month sentence on March 5th at 11AM. His defense asked for a stay in the sentence's execution and have vowed to appeal. (Gili Cohen)

Right wing politicians call for pardon for Azaria

Education Minister Naftali Bennett called for the pardon of Elor Azaria. "Israel's security demands he be pardoned. Elor was sent to protest Israelis at the height of a wave of Palestinian terror attacks. He cannot go to jail or we will all pay the price."

Culture Minister Miri Regev said it was a "sad" and "difficult" day, adding that "Elor should not sit a single day in prison beyond the time he has already served."

To be considered for a pardon, Azaria will have to submit a detailed request to the president. Read full story

Hebron shooter Elor Azaria sentenced to year and a half

Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for killing a wounded Palestinian assailant, was sentenced to a year in a half in prison on Tuesday.

The judge said that the severity of the event and the price it exerted from the IDF were mitigated by the fact it took place in an active combat situation, as the defense had claimed.

The military prosecution originally demanded a sentence of three-to-five years.

The three-judge panel who found the soldier guilty of manslaughter in early January said Azaria killed al-Sharif without any reason. The panel rejected the defense's two central claims that the Palestinian assailant was already dead and that Azaria felt threatened at the time of the shooting, saying "you can't have it both ways." Read full story

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria arrives for the start of his sentencing hearing in a military court in Tel Aviv on February 21, 2017. Credit: JIM HOLLANDER/AFP

Azaria to face minimum 1.5 years, judges say

In sentencing, minority opinion by one of the three judges says Azaria should serve 2.5-5 years, but a majority put the minimum sentence at year and a half.

Elor Azaria arrives at military court; father urges calm

Elor Azaria in court, Tel Aviv, February 21, 2017. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Elor Azaria has arrived at the Tel Aviv military court for his sentencing and was met by cheers. His father, Charlie Azaria, thanked all those who had come to support the family, but urged people to remain calm. "All of the soldiers here are our sons. So I request everyone show restraint." Protests broke out after his son's conviction.

Dozens protest outside IDF headquarters

Dozens of protesters congregated outside the Israeli army headquarters in Tel Aviv ahead of Elor Azaria's sentencing Tuesday, chanting slogans like "The people of Israel do not abandon soldiers," and "We've come to take Elor."

A rally in support of Elor Azaria in outside the military court in Tel Aviv, February 21, 2017. Credit: Emil Salman

Ahead of sentencing: Lawyers vow to appeal

Azarias defense team, which also includes attorney Yoram Sheftel, has already said they would appeal his conviction.

Addressing the military court during the penalty phase of the trial, prosecutor Lt. Col. (res.) Nadav Weisman said it could not be ignored that Azaria shot a terrorist who 11 minutes earlier had tried to kill a friend in Azarias company. Weisman said he thoroughly condemned Azarias act, but it has a background.

Azarias attorneys, Eyal Beserglick and Ilan Katz, said they believed the court should impose only a punishment of open detention, which their client has been carrying out, including various maintenance tasks, for the past 10 months on the Nahshonim army base.

Azaria asked the panel, headed by Col. Maya Heller, to consider his situation. After 10 months of trial, after 10 months of torture and suffering for me and my family, which has collapsed, I ask the court to be merciful in judging me.

>> Putting the Hebron shooting manslaughter trial into historic context | Opinion <<

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