Israel court sentences soldier for executing Palestinian News
Israel court sentences soldier for executing Palestinian

[JURIST] A Tel Aviv military court on Tuesday issued an 18-month prison sentence to an Israeli soldier who stirred Middle Eastern tensions after executing a Palestinian last year. Contrary to military guidelines, Sgt. Elor Azaria, an army medic, shot [AP report] the unarmed and wounded Palestinian after the man had stabbed a soldier in the city of Hebron. In January a three-judge panel convicted [JURIST report] Azaria of manslaughter upon finding [verdict] that his intentions were not justifiable. While prosecutors demanded a prison sentence of three to five years, the court settled on the lower sentence along with a year’s probation and rank demotion. The Israeli public has largely protested that Azaria deserved to be pardoned, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website] has recently echoed such statements. The Palestinian public, in stark contrast, has accused the sentence of being too light, calling the decision a promotion of excessive force and Palestinian discrimination. Nevertheless, Azaria is scheduled to begin the controversial sentence early next month.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been at the forefront of recent international news and reports. On Monday Amnesty International urged [JURIST report] the Israeli Supreme Court to repeal a 2003 law that bans many Palestinians from entering the country, including those who are seeking reunification with their families. Last month Netanyahu said he will be lifting restrictions [JURIST report] on Israelis building settlements in East Jerusalem. Also last month US President Donald Trump was warned [JURIST report] by Palestinian leaders not to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. In December a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned remarks [JURIST report] made by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry on the current Israeli government. In a speech given in December Kerry criticized the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, stating that such actions jeopardize prospects of peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu in December summoned [JURIST report] the ambassadors of the 14 UN Security Council members who supported a resolution condemning Israel’s settlement in Palestine to rebuke them for the vote. Following the passage of this resolution, Netanyahu also ordered the country’s foreign ministers to reevaluate Israel’s ties to the UN within the month.