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Israel slams UN criticism of ‘lenient’ sentence for army killer

Israeli soldier Elor Azarya
Israeli soldier Elor Azarya [File

Israeli politicians have slammed the UN for its criticism of the sentence handed down to Elor Azaria, the soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian in Hebron last year, Arabs48.com reported on Friday. An Israeli military court sentenced Sergeant Azaria to just 18 months in prison for the “manslaughter” of the already incapacitated Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called the sentence “excessively lenient” and said that it is “unacceptable.”“We are deeply disturbed at the lenient sentence given by the Tel-Aviv Military Court earlier this week to an Israeli soldier convicted of unlawfully killing a wounded Palestinian in an apparent extrajudicial execution of an unarmed man who clearly posed no imminent threat,” said UNHRC spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.

Ignoring the fact that Israel always claims to be a democratic state, and should thus be judged as such, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman used Facebook to describe the UNHCR as “a council not of human rights but hatred of Israel.” The right-wing extremist sought to divert attention from Israel’s abuse of human rights by pointing to what is happening elsewhere in the Middle East. “Again it has been proven that in the distorted moral compass of the human rights’ council, one bullet fired by Azaria at a terrorist is worse than the millions of bullets killing innocents in Syria, in Libya, in Iraq and in Yemen,” he claimed.

Lieberman’s cabinet colleague, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, also took to Facebook, with some degree of sarcasm, to criticise the UN body. “Among the 500,000 people murdered by Assad, the people decapitated by Islamic State and the people hanged by Iran, this must be the central problem in the Middle East.”Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, meanwhile, described the UNHRC as a “council of terrorist rights” and claimed that there is only one country in the entire Middle East where a soldier can go to prison for having killed a wounded enemy. “Only one country with the rule of law, but the council of terrorist rights is concerned about us.”

One London-based commentator pointed out that these politicians appear to be ignoring the “Core values” of the Israel Defence Forces in order to score some political points: “The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.”

Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif was already wounded, lying on the ground and no threat to anyone when Azaria took deliberate aim at him and shot him in the head. “How this has been determined as ‘manslaughter’ and not murder is beyond comprehension,” added MEMO’s Senior Editor Ibrahim Hewitt.

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