Hebron Shooter Azaria: ‘I Have no Remorse Whatsoever’

Israeli soldier Sgt. Elor Azaria kisses girlfriend as he waits with his mother inside the military court in Tel Aviv. (Photo: via YouTube)

Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot and killed a motionless Palestinian in Hebron (Al-Khalil) in 2016, has told Israeli press he has “no remorse” for his actions.

Speaking to Israel Hayom today, Azaria said of the killing that:

“I have no remorse whatsoever … There is no doubt that if you took me back to those seconds in Hebron, when the event was unfolding, I would act exactly the same all over again because that is what had to be done.”

Azaria added that:

“I acted in full accordance with what I was trained to do from the moment I became a combat soldier […] I cocked my weapon, I told the company and platoon commanders to move away and I shot him in the head, and that was the end of it. Just one shot.”

In March 2016, Azaria was caught on camera shooting 21-year-old Palestinian Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif in the head while he lay wounded on the ground in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank. The footage was released by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and caused international uproar, leading an investigation to be opened against him.

In January 2017 Azaria was convicted of manslaughter by a Tel Aviv court. A month later, Azaria was handed an 18-month prison sentence. Azaria’s defense team immediately vowed to appeal the ruling.

Azaria was treated leniently throughout his detention, being granted release to spend the Jewish festival of Passover with his family after barely serving a month of his sentence. Although Azaria was initially being held at Nahshonim Military Base, east of Tel Aviv, in July 2017 he was released to house arrest and allowed to visit the synagogue. In September, Israel’s military chief of staff cut Azaria’s jail term by four months, citing “consideration of the fact that he is a combat soldier and a warrior” who had “endured a lot”.

In March 2018 it emerged that Azaria would be released early for “good behavior.” In May he was released, having served just nine months of his prison sentence. Visiting the site of the shooting in July, Azaria received a hero’s welcome and was greeted by Israeli politician and extremist settler, Baruch Marzel, who lives in the illegal Tel Rumeida settlement of Hebron.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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