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Sgt Elor Azaria convicted of the crime of occupation

5 January 2017

Sgt Elor Azaria convicted of the crime of occupation

The case of Sgt Elor Azaria’s cold-blooded execution of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif is not an isolated incident; it is the result of a system of occupation that encourages grave injustices against Palestinians, with extrajudicial killing being just one example.

In September 2016, Human rights group Amnesty International highlighted to the Israeli authorities at least 15 cases where Israeli soldiers went unprosecuted after deliberately shooting Palestinians dead, despite the victims posing no immediate threat. The only difference in the Azaria case is that it was caught on film and attracted the attention of the international media.

The actions of Azaria are the product of the extremist views of a staggering proportion of the Israeli public.

In recent polls, 65% of the Israeli public supported Azaria’s dubious claim to selfdefence, while almost 50% of Israelis said that any Palestinian who carries out an attack should be killed on the spot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has joined other Israeli Knesset members in calling for Azaria to be pardoned from his crime, arguing that Israeli soldiers should remain “above dispute”—they should be allowed to unlawfully execute Palestinians with impunity.

This alarming call highlights how Israeli national security is continually invoked to justify egregious human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The Palestinian people are forced to live under the inescapable system of oppression that is the Israeli occupation. They are subjected to physical and verbal abuse, unlawful imprisonment, home demolitions, unemployment, and countless forms of humiliation at the hands of the occupation. Acts of Palestinian violence against Israelis, such as that of Sharif, are expressions of the sheer desperation that living under this crushing system entails.

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