By now, you would have seen the breaking news of the manslaughter conviction of IDF soldier Sgt. Elor Azaria who killed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant in Hebron last March.
As the Times of Israel reported:
A military tribunal in Tel Aviv on Wednesday convicted of manslaughter an IDF soldier who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, concluding a high-profile trial that deeply divided the country. His attorneys accused the court of bias and vowed to appeal.
The verdict on Sgt. Elor Azaria, 19, was delivered by a panel of three judges at the army’s Kirya headquarters, a change of venue from the Jaffa Military Court’s usual meeting place in the city’s south. Outside, scores of activists demonstrating in support of Azaria — among them far-right supporters of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club — clashed with police and border guards dispatched to maintain order. Two people were arrested when protesters attempted to block Kaplan Street, a main avenue running outside the compound.
Azaria’s trial saw politicians and current and former army generals alternately supporting or condemning the soldier’s actions. Many of the army’s top brass, as well as former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, had railed against Azaria’s “unethical” decision to shoot the assailant, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, in the head nearly 15 minutes after the latter was shot and wounded as he attempted to stab an IDF soldier in Hebron last March.
In the lengthy, unanimous decision, which she read for almost three hours, Judge Maya Heller described the circumstances of the shooting and summed up the indictment and defense, before tearing into many of Azaria’s claims. The judges concluded that Azaria’s testimony was “not credible,” that he had opened fire out of a desire for revenge, and that the shooting was “not justified.”
Just so you know where I’m coming from, I am a person of Jewish heritage and am staunchly pro-Israel for Biblical reasons. So, I am in no way anti-Semitic. However, I believe that in the case of this incident, that the killing was not at all justified. It was plain unethical, unprofessional and unwarranted.
Just as I believe the Jewish people have a right to existence, I hold the same belief in regards to Palestinians and anyone else for that matter. Killing someone is not justified on the basis that “he deserves to die.” That, to me, and any decent person is just nonsensical.
Yes, I can understand the fact that one of Azaria’s colleagues was attacked and subsequently injured, however there is no justification for his death.
In the video footage that was uploaded to YouTube, you can clearly see that the attacker was lying motionless on the ground in the middle of the road. In that position, he clearly did not pose a threat to the soldiers or the public, from a tactical viewpoint. Motionless, wounded and surrounded by IDF members, he was essentially neutralised at that point and did not pose an immediate threat to anyone.
In fact, he doesn’t appear to be armed when he is lying on his back on the ground. Then a single shot rings out. Sgt. Azaria had cocked his weapon and fired it at close range killing the attacker instantly.
As the Times also reported:
Military prosecutors at first sought murder charges against Azaria, but the difficulty of proving the soldier’s intent led to a reduced indictment for manslaughter. According to prosecutors, Azaria’s actions explicitly contravened the IDF’s rules of engagement, which stipulate, in accordance with Israeli law, that deadly force cannot be used once the assailant no longer poses an immediate threat. The court emphatically endorsed this argument.
However, having said all that, it seems to me that this single incident is being paraded around by opponents of Israel all over the world to push the false narrative that this is how all IDF soldiers act. They are using this as an “example” to tar the rest of the IDF and the Jewish people as being malevolent, hateful and generally evil.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, I smell hypocrisy here and it stinks to high heaven. When police or military brutality occurs in the U.S., the UK, Australia etc, rarely does it make the international headlines. It remains a local or national story.
As usual, news editors and journalists with an anti-Israel bias are taking the opportunity here to throw mud at Israel by giving this story unnecessary and unwarranted international exposure.
That’s because the enemies of Israel are always looking for opportunities to demonise the Jewish people.
It seems that whenever anything controversial happens in Israel, the world jumps on the Jewish State to find fault with it as a country, as a people and as a democracy.
Military and police brutality happens all over the world. There have been many cases such as this one in the U.S. which didn’t even make international headlines! Of course such brutality and heavy handedness is never justified, but what I’m saying is why the extra coverage compared to other cases in other countries?
It’s time to end the hypocrisy and the anti-Israel bias.