Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldier shot and killed wounded, unarmed Palestinian assailant who had already surrendered
Palestinian assailant previously stabbed a soldier at a checkpoint
Poll Shows 82% of Israelis believe soldier was justified in killing
It was just a few minutes of smartphone footage, but it was enough to unleash a global uproar from humanitarians, part of an increasing scrutiny towards Israeli treatment of its Palestinian population.
The clip, recorded last week in the city of Hebron, shows an Israeli Defense Force aiming his weapon at a wounded unarmed Palestinian man, who had previously been shot after stabbing a another soldier at a checkpoint.
As he is lying on the pavement, additionally not receiving any medical attention as other soldiers look on, Elor Azaria, 21, lifts his weapon, aims, and shoots the wounded man in the head, killing him “execution style.
While the backlash globally was swift to condemn the killing as unjust, Israeli public opinion is uniformly behind Azaria, with one poll showing 82% of respondents agreeing that he was justified in shooting the assailant, 21 year old Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif.
Of the dissenting opinions, only 5 percent felt that Azaria’s actions constituted murder.
Meanwhile, a solidarity rally took place on March 28, with hundreds of people attending holding signs such as “free our soldier” and “we would have done just as you did.”
Coming just a few days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top ranking Israeli officials condemned the shooting, it has put the Prime Minister in the unenviable position of needing to avoid alienating his own base of support.
In a statement released by the Government Press Office in Hebrew and in English, Netanyahu addressed the parents of the shooter, saying “As the father of a soldier, I understand you distress.”
No Israeli soldier has ever been found guilty for murder after fatally shooting an unarmed Palestinian civilian.