Defense and Israeli Army Prosecution Fail to Reach Compromise in Case of Hebron Shooter

Israel’s military court had ordered the sides — both of which appealed soldier Elor Azaria’s sentence — to reach an agreement

'Hebron shooter' Elor Azaria in court, May 8, 2017.
Moti Milrod

The military prosecutors and the defense attorney for Sgt. Elor Azaria were unable to reach a compromise in the case of the Israel Defense Forces soldier who was convicted of manslaughter in January for shooting a wounded terrorist to death in Hebron in March, 2016.

The military court ordered the mediation effort after the defense appealed Azaria’s conviction and the prosecution appealed what it regarded as the lenient 18-month sentence he received for the killing of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif. But at the meeting between Chief Military Prosecutor Col. Sharon Zagagi and prosecutor Nadav Weissman and Azaria’s defense attorney Yoram Sheftel, no compromise was reached. Now the military court will be obligated to respond to the appeals — something the court had hoped to avoid.

At the end of the attorneys’ meeting, which lasted less than an hour, the IDF Spokesman issued a statement saying, “At the end of the meeting it emerged that the gaps between the two parties are significant and substantive, and do not allow reaching any agreements.”

The army will inform the military court of the failure to reach a compromise, after which the President of the Military Appeals Court, Maj. Gen. Doron Piles, will set a date for the next hearing, at which the three-judge military court panel is expected to rule.

Azaria, an army medic, was seen in a video filmed by a volunteer from the human rights group B’tselem, shooting Sharif in the head at close range, as he lay wounded on the ground. Sharif had stabbed another soldier before being shot, wounded and “neutralized” in the Tel Rumeida neighborood of  Hebron.

Lawyer Yoram Sheftel, left, and Elor Azaria's father, Charlie, confer prior to a Tel Aviv press conference, March 1, 2017.
Jack Guez / AFP