UN ‘disturbed’ by light sentence for Israeli soldier
AFP 24 Feb — An 18-month prison sentence for an Israeli soldier who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant is an “unacceptable” punishment for “an apparent extra-judicial killing”, the UN said Friday. United Nations human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani further charged the Jewish state with having “a chronic culture of impunity” regarding cases involving Israeli troops and Palestinians … “While the prosecution and conviction are very welcome steps towards accountability, the punishment… is difficult to reconcile with the intentional killing of an unarmed and prone individual,” she added. According to the rights office, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank since September 2015 and Azaria has been the only one to face trial. Israeli Prime Minister Benjami n Netanyahu on Thursday backed pardoning Azaria.
Opinion: Who needs The Hague when you have Israeli army justice? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 23 Feb — There’s nothing more Israeli than this court that gives a soldier who killed a Palestinian in cold blood a sentence fit for a bicycle thief — …let’s welcome the Israel Defense Forces Theater, sitting as a military court. It’s the most authentic reflection of society, the country’s real High Court of Justice. It’s an epic production with dozens of extras; the reviews are flattering, and the audience goes wild. The costumes (IDF uniforms) are nothing special, and neither are the scenery, lighting and makeup – “absentee” property in Jaffa or a barracks in the Kirya (army headquarters), neon lights and metal benches. But the play is excellent – current and relevant, representative and indicative – and the ending is always predictable. There’s nothing more Israeli than this court, and nothing more authentic than its sentence in the case of soldier Elor Azaria. Once again, we have the cloak of self-righteousness, once again the deceit, once again the façade of due process, with a defense, a prosecution and summations. Once again, it’s the best show in town, and once again, the crying injustice is present without our feeling it, just the way Israelis like it … Azaria left the court as a national hero, in a country where everyone who kills an Arab is considered a hero and there are almost no heroes who didn’t kill Arabs. The court once again told Israelis what they most wanted to hear: Palestinian lives are dirt cheap; they’re on end-of-season sale. This is the same court that has judged hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with severity and cruelty over the decades of the occupation….
Five children who got longer sentences for throwing stones than Israeli soldier who shot incapacitated Palestinian dead
The Independent 22 Feb by Bethan McKernan — An 18-month jail sentence handed down to an Israel Defence Force (IDF) recruit for the killing of a wounded Palestinian has prompted for widespread criticism for its apparent leniency in light of the severity of his crime … The ruling was a landmark case insofar as no member of the IDF has been prosecuted for actions carried out in uniform in over 12 years. However, Palestinians and rights activists have widely criticised the sentencing as not severe enough … Al-Sharif’s father Yusri told reporters from his home in the West Bank that the family had never expected the Tel Aviv military court “show trial” to do the deceased man justice …
“The sentence he received is less than a Palestinian child gets for throwing stones.” The family’s comments are not hyperbole. In 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet established a mandatory minimum penalty of four years in prison for those who “endanger human lives by throwing stones, fire-bombs and explosives”. The temporary measure, expected to last until 2018, came into force after an Israeli man died in a car crash linked to a stone-throwing incident. Under military law, Palestinian rights group Addameer says, throwing stones can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Just a handful of people imprisoned under the new stone-throwing legislation who were handed down longer sentences than Azaria, include five boys from east Jerusalem who were sentenced in March last year for throwing stones at cars: Saleh Ashraf Ishtayya, 16: three years and three months in prison; Muhammad Ahmad Jaber, 14: three years in prison; Murad Raed Alqam, 14: three years in prison; Muhammad Na‘el Tayeh, 17: two years and four months in prison; Zaid Ayed al-Taweel, 16: two years and four months in prison….
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