Two days after an Israeli military court charged a soldier with manslaughter for the fatal shooting of a wounded Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, thousands of people took to the streets in Tel Aviv, demanding his release.
The incident prompted global last month when amateur footage emerged on the internet, showing Sgt. Elor Azaria shooting Abdel Fattah al-Sharif at point blank range, despite the fact he was already injured.
Although Sharif had allegedly tried to stab an Israeli soldier prior his death, many say Azaria could’ve easily subdued the 21-year-old Palestinian, since he was unarmed, instead of shooting him in the head.
However, some 2,000 Israelis who flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square this week in support of the 19-year-old soldier, believe otherwise.
1000s of Israelis rally in Tel Aviv tonight to show support 4 soldier charged with manslaughter over Hebron killing. pic.twitter.com/SLADr1ZGs7— Rori Donaghy (@roridonaghy) April 19, 2016
The crowd, according to The Jerusalem Post, was “heavily right-wing.” While many people believed Azaria is a “hero” should be released because he killed a “terrorist,” others said while his actions were wrong, he still shouldn’t be branded a murderer.
Some of the most disturbing moments from the rally included the one where a protester was spotted holding a sign that read “Kill All Arabs” and the part where people chanted “death to Arabs.”
Message of the new Israeli justice & equality: "kill them all" in tel aviv rally supporting a murderer soldier pic.twitter.com/t9CqN777ya— Ahmad Tibi (@Ahmad_tibi) April 19, 2016
Crowd chants "Elor the hero" and "death to Arabs." This seems more like a celebration of murder than anything pic.twitter.com/2QHDpIT0LJ— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) April 19, 2016
Violence is an inevitable part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, over the past few months, the situation has escalated to disturbing levels.
Since October, a series of stabbings by Palestinians has killed 28 Israelis. During the same time, Israeli forces killed 200 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 41 minors. An additional 2,177 children were injured during the same period, according to the United Nations.
Moreover, Israeli soldiers have been carrying out point-blank executions of alleged knife-wielding Palestinian assailants for quite some time now. In fact, many of them have been underage.