Israeli Soldier Guilty of Manslaughter in Killing of Wounded Palestinian

Israeli Soldier Guilty of Manslaughter in Killing of Wounded Palestinian

Mideast Israel Palestinians

An Israeli military court has convicted a soldier of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an incapacitated Palestinian attacker.

The verdict caps a nine-month saga that has deeply divided the country. Defense officials have criticized Sgt. Elor Azaria’s conduct, while large segments of the Israeli public, along with members of the nationalist ruling coalition, have rallied behind him.

In delivering her verdict, Col. Maya Heller systematically rejected all of Azaria’s defense arguments, saying “the fact that the man on the ground was a terrorist does not justify a disproportionate response.”

The court threw out a relative of Sgt. Elor Azaria, while a second relative stormed out of the court after his manslaughter conviction. A young woman called the verdict a disgrace and screamed “the Israeli military is over!” before she was thrown out. Another woman screamed “disgusting leftists!” and stormed out.

Azaria, who was caught on video fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker in the West Bank in March, sat emotionless as the verdict was delivered. He is expected to be sentenced in several weeks.

Hundreds of demonstrators blocked a major Tel Aviv intersection near the courtroom at military headquarters and clashed with police. Journalists covering the demonstration say they were attacked by demonstrators.