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Israel divided over conviction of Hebron IDF shooter

The conviction of IDF soldier Elor Azaria for shooting to death a wounded Palestinian assailant sends the message to the radicalizing Israeli society that the IDF will not accept such behavior amid its ranks.
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The morning of Jan. 4 saw the end — for now at least — of an egregious incident, which sent shockwaves through the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the political system and Israeli society in general over the past 10 months. A military tribunal convicted Sgt. Elor Azaria of manslaughter for the killing of a Palestinian terrorist, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, after Sharif and another terrorist attacked an IDF post in Hebron on March 24.

The entire incident was captured on film by volunteers from B’Tselem human rights organization and others on the scene. Azaria arrived several moments after the conclusion of the incident, when Sharif was already immobile and lying in a puddle of blood on the ground; he had been shot by an IDF soldier in order to prevent the attack. Azaria can be seen taking two steps forward, aiming his gun and shooting Sharif in the head at close range. One of the video clips went viral, resulting in an almost unprecedented blast of responses. The IDF spokesman, chief of staff and minister of defense were all quick to condemn the soldier’s actions, and the military police launched an investigation. Azaria claimed that he felt threatened by the wounded terrorist, and that he was worried he might have an explosive device. So he shot him.

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