Netanyahu supports pardon for convicted soldier

Netanyahu supports pardon for convicted soldier

Netanyahu supports pardon for convicted soldier

He also seemed to be accusing Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who spoke with Azaria's father, Charley, even before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the father early on.

Sharif and another Palestinian, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, had stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in Hebron on 24 March before troops opened fire on them, wounding Sharif and killing Qasrawi.

Other citizens, and many senior military figures, believe the shooting can not be justified and that Azaria, who made far-right, anti-Palestinian postings on Facebook before being conscripted, acted in cold blood and outside military procedures. But the judges didn't find his testimony "credible."

Azaria faces up to 20 years in jail, but legal experts expect the sentence to be shorter.

Hundreds of protesters gather in solidarity with Azaria after his conviction on Wednesday in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli military, however, has said consistently that he did not act in keeping with protocol, a reason that lead to the guilty verdict on Wednesday. "He should have been kicked out of the army shamefacedly and we would have saved Israeli society and the army this entire process".

She also said that it was Azaria's shooting that killed the terrorist, Abed al Fatah a-Sharif, who was lying wounded on the ground after he tried to stab a soldier.

"For me, a just verdict will be one that is similar to the verdicts our sons (in Israeli prisons) get", Yusri al-Sharif said.

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Since then, 42 Israelis have been killed in such attacks and 602 people, including 4 Palestinians, injured, Israel's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"The fact that one soldier was convicted today does not exonerate the Israeli military law enforcement system from its routine whitewashing of cases in which security forces kill or injure Palestinians with no accountability", B'Tselem said.

While the Palestine Liberation Organization has welcomed the French peace initiative, which was first proposed early a year ago, Israel has said it would only participate in bilateral talks with the Palestinian leadership.

A pardon would come from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who is refusing to divulge his present leanings, saying only that a decision will be made if Azaria files for clemency after his sentencing, which is scheduled for January 15th.

The case of Elor Azaria - the "Hebron shooter" - has cast a long shadow over Israel over the past 10 months.

Judge Colonel Maya Heller spent more than two and a half hours reading out the court decision Wednesday, sharply criticising the arguments of Azaria's lawyers.

Yesh Din, a human rights organisation working in Israel and the West Bank, criticised what it called an "exceptionally low" prosecution rate by the Israeli military in cases of violence against Palestinians.

A security detail has been assigned to the three military judges who unanimously convicted the soldier after a wave of invective and incitement on social media following the conviction. Palestinians say the violence is a result of frustration over Israel's military occupation, and suspicions that Israel is trying to expand its presence at the Noble Sanctuary holy site in Jerusalem.