The defense team of Elor Azarya called for the Israeli soldier to be exonerated of all charges for shooting a prone Palestinian in the head in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron in March, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Azarya’s lawyers argued that the trial had confirmed the soldier’s version of events, which stated that Azarya shot Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif at point-blank range after the Palestinian had already been shot and severely wounded after allegedly attempting to stab another Israeli soldier, because Azarya believed al-Sharif could have reached for a knife or had been concealing explosive underneath his jacket.
However, Azarya’s version has been thoroughly contradicted during the duration of the trial by his commanders and experts, who stated that al-Sharif did not constitute a threat at the time of his death, and that him wearing a jacket was not suspicious given the weather that day.
Claims that the young Palestinian could have reached for a knife were also dispelled after new video footage surfaced in June, capturing events after Azarya executed al-Sharif, showing an Israeli ambulance driver kicking the knife towards the body, which had been far out of arm’s reach.
Azarya’s lawyers said his commanders were the ones who had not acted properly in the case, and accused them of putting the blame on the soldier to deflect scrutiny.
Weeks into Azarya’s trial, reports emerged that the second Palestinian killed alongside al-Sharif was also shot in the head execution style. However, no trial has reportedly been opened in the case.
The final verdict in the case is expected to be issued in the next two weeks, the Jerusalem Post said.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)