The Israeli military prosecution opposes parole for the so-called “Hebron shooter,” Elor Azaria, after only half his sentence of 18 months had been served, chief prosecutor Sharon Zagagi Pinhas told the parole board today. She did not object to Azaria being released after serving two-thirds of his sentence, which is standard for prisoners with good behavior, saying that she does not believe he constitutes a danger to the public.
Zagagi Pinhas added however that to this day, Azaria has shown no remorse, nor has he taken responsibility, for his action, which she stressed was premeditated, not based on error or negligence, and undermined the Israeli army’s moral strength.
Azaria, formerly an army medic, began his sentence for manslaughter on August 2017, following his conviction for shooting and killing Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron on March 24, 2016. Azaria shot Sharif while the latter was prostrate on the ground, having been shot by Israeli soldiers 11 minutes after he stabbed an Israeli soldier. Azaria later claimed he had thought the terrorist also had explosives on his body, an argument the courts rejected.
Azaria asked to be released immediately, ahead of Passover, saying, “The holiday of freedom is coming soon – let me go home.” He kept repeating that he shot a “terrorist murderer” because that is what he thought he was facing, and said that if he had known then what he knows now, he “would have acted otherwise.”
The parole board is supposed to reach a decision on parole for Azaria within a few days.
If the board decides to release Azaria after serving two-thirds of his sentence, he would get out on May 10.