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Arab League slams ‘racist’ jail term given to Israeli soldier

A Palestinian woman reacts during a protest following a verdict in the trial of the Israeli soldier Elor Azaria who in March 2016 shot dead a wounded Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on February 21, 2017 (Photo by AFP).

The Arab League has condemned a lenient jail term given to an Israeli soldier, who was caught on camera shooting dead an already-wounded Palestinian, saying the sentence shows the depth of “racism” in the Tel Aviv regime.

“The Israeli military court ruling exposes the level of Israeli disregard for Palestinian blood… and the extent of racism in the occupation’s institutions,” the 22-member bloc said in a Wednesday statement.

On Tuesday, the military court in Tel Aviv sentenced Israeli soldier Elor Azaria to 18 months in prison for shooting dead severely-wounded Palestinian, Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, following an alleged stabbing attack in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) last year.

However, the Palestinian Authority denounced the short prison sentence, saying it gives the regime forces the “green light” to commit more crimes against Palestinians.

The victim’s father Yusri also said, “A year and a half is a farce,” asking, “What does a year and a half mean? Was he [the Palestinian victim] an animal to be killed like this, in this barbaric way?”

The March 2016 killing, which was captured on video by a Palestinian human rights activist, prompted widespread international condemnation.

The footage shows Azaria cocking his rifle and fatally shooting Sharif in the head from just several meters away while the victim was still alive.

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a wounded Palestinian, sits with his parents as he waits for his sentence hearing at the military court in Tel Aviv, January 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Last month, a three-judge military court convicted the Israeli soldier of manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum 20-year term.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also vowed to support any decision to pardon Azaria.

Passing the 18-month sentence, the Israeli court said Azaria had “taken upon himself to be both judge and executioner” and had not expressed regret for his crime.

The Israeli regime has come under fire for using lethal force against Palestinians and adopting a policy of shoot-to-kill.

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The occupied territories have witnessed tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

According to Palestinian media, over 280 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 2015, when the tensions intensified.

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