Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian in Hebron, was released today after serving just nine months in prison.
According to Haaretz, “his release was brought forward by two days as he requested to attend his brother’s wedding”.
On 24 March 2016, Azaria shot Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif in the head, as the latter lay on the ground following a reported stabbing of another solider.
The extrajudicial execution of the Palestinian was captured on film.
An Israeli military court convicted Azaria of manslaughter and sentenced him to 18 months jail time, which the Israeli military Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot later shortened by four months. This past March, the military parole board cut Azaria’s sentence by a third for “good behaviour”.
Haaretz reported that Azaria was greeted at his home in Ramle, southeast of Tel Aviv, with Israeli flags and signs saying “It’s so good to have you home, the soldier of us all”, and “Welcome home, Elor the hero”. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he was “very glad” Azaria was finally home.
Azaria has never shown any remorse for the deliberate killing.
MK Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List said the expressions of support for the soldier “turn Azaria from being a murderer into a hero and lay the ground for the next murder”.