An Israeli military court has rejected a soldier's appeal after he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for killing a Palestinian.
Elor Azaria, 20, was convicted of manslaughter in January for fatally shooting an incapacitated Palestinian assailant in the West Bank nearly a year ago.
The landmark case polarized the nation, pitting much of the public against Israel’s most prized and respected institution, the army. In a rare move, the military condemned a soldier’s actions during a Palestinian attack, while many ordinary people were appalled that an Israeli youth serving on the front lines was hauled into court like a common criminal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Sunday he would recommend a pardon for Azaria.
דעתי לא השתנתה בדבר מתן חנינה לאלאור אזריה, כפי שהבעתי אותה לאחר הכרעת הדין. כשהנושא יעלה לדיון מעשי אעביר המלצתי לחנינה לגורמים הרלוונטיים— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 30, 2017
The incident in question took place last March in the West Bank town of Hebron, when two Palestinians went on a stabbing rampage targeting Israeli troops. One assailant was shot dead by soldiers and the other was wounded, lying incapacitated on the ground.
Eleven minutes later, a cell-phone video caught Azaria taking aim at the 21-year-old injured Palestinian and shooting him in the head. The soldier claimed that he feared the man was booby-trapped with a bomb; but commanders quickly disputed that and Azaria was put on trial for violating the army’s code of moral conduct.