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Israel PM calls for soldier who killed motionless Palestinian to be pardoned

Along with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a group of Israeli ministers called for pardoning Israeli soldier Elor Azaria who killed motionless Palestinian Abdel-Fattah Al-Sharif in Hebron last year, Israeli media reported yesterday.

The Israeli military court of appeals rejected two appeals in the trial of the killer and upheld the manslaughter conviction and the 18-month sentence given to him.

In the wake of the decision of the court, Netanyahu said: "My opinion has not changed on the granting of a pardon to Elor Azaria, as I expressed following the verdict."

He added: "When the subject is brought up for practical discussion, I will forward my recommendation for amnesty to the relevant parties."

On Twitter, the Israeli Minister of Defence Avigdor Lieberman wrote:

I ask the Azaria family not to file an additional appeal, but rather to appeal to the Chief of Staff for a pardon.

Noting that this will work, he added: "I have no doubt that the Chief of Staff will take into account all the difficult circumstances and that he was an outstanding soldier."

Leader of Jewish Home party Naftali Bennet also called for the killer to be pardoned.

Read: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel 

"The verdict is difficult," Bennet said in a statement. "Now, after a year and a half of trials, it is time to pardon Elor Azaria. For the sake of our fighters who are on the front lines and in order to prevent the loss of our power of deterrence, Elor must return home."

Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev said: "Elor Azaria is an outstanding soldier and should have been home a long time ago now. Now it is under the IDF's authority and they should give him backup. Pardon him. And the sooner the better."

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