If anyone is in any doubts about Israel’s biased justice system, they need to look no further than Elor Azaria’s sentence for manslaughter.
The 20-year-old Israeli Defense Force recruit was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for executing an alleged Palestinian attacker, last March, despite the fact that he was unarmed, wounded and lying on the ground at the time of the shooting.
What’s worse, in spite of video evidence and witnesses that prove Azaria committed cold-blooded murder of 21-year-old Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, the soldier was only convicted of manslaughter – not murder.
Even the prosecution demanded a light sentence of three years for him when in Israel, manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Azaria’s punishment is ridiculous, considering how the same justice system hands harsher punishments to Palestinians, including Palestinian children, for throwing stones.
Nearly a week before al-Sharif’s execution, five Palestinian children received longer sentences than Azaria: 16-year-old Saleh Ashraf Ishtayya got three years and three months in prison, 14-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Jaber received three years in prison, 14-year-old Murad Raed Alqam was handed three years in prison, 17-year-old Muhammad Na’el Tayeh was given two years and four months in prison and 16-year-old Zaid Ayed al-Taweel got two years and four months in prison.
In the same trial, a 14-year-old received a one-year sentence, and another boy, whose age was not specified, was given one year and two months in prison.
And what was the children’s offense? They reportedly threw stones at Israeli cars.
So, essentially, in the eyes of Israeli law, a 19-year-old man, who ruthlessly executed an incapacitated man lying on the ground, deserves less punishment than children who throw rocks at cars – just because he is an Israeli citizen.
Also, while we’re at it, it’s also important to mention here that while manslaughter in Israel carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, stone throwing by Palestinians also carries the same amount of jail time.
Israel really needs to sort out its criminal and legal priorities.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jim Hollander