Home / International / Israel Rallies Around Soldier Who Killed Palestinian Assailant “Execution Style”
Israeli citizens at a rally to support Elor Azaria. 

Photo Credit: Daily Beast
Israeli citizens at a rally to support Elor Azaria. Photo Credit: Daily Beast

Israel Rallies Around Soldier Who Killed Palestinian Assailant “Execution Style”

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 

742699_IIt 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.

About Adam Ciminello

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The father (C, back) of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (C, seated), who is charged with manslaughter by the Israeli military after he shot a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground in Hebron on March 24. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

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One comment

  1. Perhaps this article was based on a bad translation of the material linked-to. It was not a poll at all, it was a piece of software’s (machine-learning based natural-language-processing software) estimate of “sentiment” based on an analysis of social media comments. A tweet that said “I think it’s good that the solider has been charged with manslaughter” (which is what has actually happened) would, in this case, have been counted as “positive sentiment.” AI NLP sentiment analysis is of notoriously poor quality and is in no way an accurate indicator of what poll results would show. Regardless, it is still very distressing that he has only been charged with manslaughter instead of murder as the video makes it quite clear that’s the crime committed.