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Elor Azarya returns home to a hero’s welcome after 9-month prison term for killing Palestinian

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“I’m glad it’s over”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as Elor Azarya, the soldier-medic who shot the incapacitated Palestinian suspect Abdel Fatah Al Sharif, returned home from his prison term served for ‘manslaughter’, after merely 9 months.

The release was early on several counts: First, what was clearly murder got reduced to a ‘manslaughter’ charge to begin with. Then, despite the court noting that Azarya showed no remorse and in fact had said that Al Sharif “deserved to die”, despite the court noting “we have dealt with a case in which the committing of the felony and the level of guilt of the defendant are of excessive egregiousness”, noting that “the reason for shooting by the defendant was not rooted in a sense of danger”, the court gave him a ridiculous sentence of 1.5 years, at the low end of the term suggested even by the prosecution (14-48 months).

Right after Azarya started serving his term, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot cut the sentence by 4 months (because Azarya had already “endured a lot”). President Rivlin denied a further pardon a few months later, and was labelled a traitor by many of Azarya’s fans on the right (despite publicized rumors that Rivlin might pardon Azarya in the very end, he did not do so).

In late March, the Military Parole Board cut a further one-third of Azarya’s sentence, ordering his release in May. 

Azarya was thus supposed to be released yesterday (Thursday), but actually got out Tuesday – so as to not miss his brother’s wedding, which just happened to be on Wednesday. Azarya was greeted like a real hero when arriving home, with Israeli flags and signs saying “It’s so good to have you home, the soldier of us all,” and “Welcome home, Elor the hero.”

Various cabinet ministers were jubilant. Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted a picture of Azaria at home with his family, and wrote:

“Elor, it’s so good to have you home.”

Several ministers went even further than jubilantly congratulating Azarya – they even called for erasing his criminal record.

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz:

“It was time for Elor to go home to his family and friends. I appeal to President Reuven Rivlin to act now to delete Elor’s criminal record so that he can integrate into civilian life and get on with his life”.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev:

“I wish for Elor and his family to return to a normal way of life. There remains just one more objective: to wipe Elor’s criminal record.”

It is important to note, that the notion of a mere criminal record being a burden in itself, had already featured in the court conclusion accompanying its sentence early last year. At the time, the court concluded:

“After we have examined the collectivity of circumstances, including the substantial contribution of the soldier to the army and to the country as a combat soldier, his positive personality and his being a normative person until his current complication [sic], the extended period in which the defendant had already resided in open detention, the damages caused to the defendant and to his family members due to the whole affair, and the criminal registration accompanying his very conviction, all judges were convinced, that his penalty must be set within the lower end of the range of suitable penalty.”

I had already referred in detail to the representation of Azarya as a “positive personality and his being a normative person,” even though Azarya shares his genocidal values openly with his close family, which supports them too. If Azarya is “normative” by the court, then it deems genocide “normative”. But furthermore, see the focus upon the “criminal registration accompanying his very conviction”, presented as a mitigating circumstance for the setting of the penalty at the “lower end”. This is circular logic which basically suggests that all criminals should receive lenient sentences – simply because they are on trial. Their sentences should be reduced, because their registration as criminals may harm them in the future.

Lawmakers from the minority Joint (Arab) List were warning of the dire consequences of the mentioned jubilations. MK Aida Touma-Suleiman:

“A government that embraces heinous murderers and praises their release is a government that is preparing the ground and giving a green light for the next murder,” she said in a statement. “The murder [Azaria] carried out with his own hands is in fact a murder that was done by all those who continue to incite, in every direction, against the Palestinian people and against the Arab public. It is galling to see Azaria free after only nine months in prison. His release today sends a tough message that Palestinian blood is cheap.”

MK Yousef Jabareen:

“The forgiving and sympathetic attitude that we are witness to in the Azaria saga, which reached a climax today with his release, has transformed Azaria from a murderer into a hero, and in practice authorizes the next murder.”

Elor Azarya is now for many a real hero, “everyone’s child” who has “paid for us all”, “King of Israel” .

Now this hero, who had “endured a lot”, also has to have his criminal record cleansed. Because like with the ongoing Nakba denial, when Israeli soldiers murder Palestinians, it needs to be denied, it needs to be erased, and if the soldiers happen to be caught on film, then they themselves become victims of aggression, and they end up having to “pay for us all”. And we don’t want to pay at all. Crimes? What crimes? Palestinians? What Palestinians?  

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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7 Responses

  1. Ossinev on May 11, 2018, 11:14 am

    “This is circular logic which basically suggests that all criminals should receive lenient sentences – simply because they are on trial. Their sentences should be reduced, because their registration as criminals may harm them in the future”.

    The cutting edge of Ziologic at it`s finest. When oh when are these Fascist scum going to be called to account by the mainstream Western media.The Prime Minister of the only Democracy in the Middle East (not the the only Middle East Democracy – Israeli Zios of course see themselves after all “civilised” Westerners who believe in Western values when it comes to the basic principles of crime , justice and punishment LOL) is glad that it is all over.

    Presumably his lovely family and Gruppencommandant supporters Bennett and Regev are thinking ahead. His Zio cousins in the US may want to invite him over for an AIPAC celebrity appearance and there might be some issues in gaining entry if he has a criminal record.

    The sooner these Zio scum disappear down the sewer of history the better. The tragedy , apart from the ongoing ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide which they are visiting on the innocent native population , is that before that happens, and it will ,many hundreds of thousands of truly moral Jews in Israel and around the world will be tarred with the same brush.

    I wonder if cuddly Elor as part of Zioland`s apology for the gross miscarriage of justice which led to his imprisonment will treat him to an all expenses two to three day break on the Gaza border with ten or so free kill Palestinian protesters vouchers. it`s the least they can do to reassure him that his behaviour was entirely Zio normative and it`s back to most moral medic business as usual.

    • Misterioso on May 12, 2018, 12:45 pm


      “The sooner these Zio scum disappear down the sewer of history the better. The tragedy , apart from the ongoing ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide which they are visiting on the innocent native population , is that before that happens, and it will ,many hundreds of thousands of truly moral Jews in Israel and around the world will be tarred with the same brush.”

      Well said.

      Here’s a timely article just written by Prof. Lawrence Davidson:

      May 12/18

      “It Is Time For A Palestinian-Jewish Alliance – An Analysis” by Professor Lawrence Davidson

      “Part I – Palestinian Victims”

      “For one hundred years – counting from the 1917 Balfour Declaration – the Zionist process of conquest has ruthlessly gone forward. It has relentlessly displaced the non-Jewish population of Palestine so as to facilitate the ‘ingathering of the Jewish exiles.’ The processes and behaviors consciously chosen to achieve this end have been consistently brutal, aggressive, and expansionist.

      “The consequences for the Palestinian people are well documented both by Palestinians such as Nur Masalha and Israelis such as Ilan Pappe. There are now millions of Palestinian refugees spread throughout the world. One-third of these people live in refugee camps. Another 1.6 million Palestinians live in Israel under discriminatory, segregationist circumstances. Palestinians in the occupied territories (OT) are just that – under occupation. Gaza is often described as the world’s largest open-air prison. The overall result is the ongoing destruction of a people, its history and culture.

      “Many Israelis don’t so much deny these facts as excuse them. Take for instance the Israeli author Ari Shavit. In his book My Promised Land he confesses that the crimes of the Zionist movement (the example he uses is a 1948 massacre of Palestinians at Lydda) are not sufficient for him to reject its achievement (the founding of the Israeli state). ‘I will stand by the damned. Because I know that if it wasn’t for them, the state of Israel would not have been born. … They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter and my sons to live.’

      “Shavit makes too little of ‘standing by the damned.’ The fact is that the behavior of the damned did not end in 1948. The atrocities continue, and fully half of Israeli Jews would just as soon see the Palestinians cleansed from Israel once and for all. Shavit will see no end to the consequences of his sordid affirmation. Put another way, it is the fate of those who swear loyalty to an empowered racist political ideology to be damned for as long as that belief system guides the exercise of power. Zionists have, essentially, committed moral and ethical suicide.

      “Part II – Jewish Victims”

      “While the Palestinians are certainly the major victims of Zionism – the ones living under apartheid conditions or dispossessed and scattered around the world, the ones shot daily for acts of both violent and non-violent resistance – they are not the only victims.. Jews of conscience, those who believe in international law, in standards of human, civil rights and political rights, daily have to deal with an existential nausea because horrible acts are being carried out in the name of the Jews – they too are victims of Zionism.

      “Let me try to explain what has been done to this second set of victims. Zionism has victimized the Jews of conscience (and indeed all Jews) in two ways: first, it has attempted to tie them to a racist political ideology that glorifies the settler-colonialism of the 19th century and anachronistically carries it into the modern world. This is a process that has proven increasingly harmful to those aspects of international law that have traditionally helped protect Jews and other minorities. The Zionists have not just abandoned this law – their policies are the antithesis of these humane and civilizing rules. Second, in religious terms Zionism has empowered the reactionary and exclusionist orthodox branches of Judaism to the point of fractionalizing the religious community as a whole, and threatening the excommunication of Judaism’s reform movement. Thus, Zionism represents a real threat to any modern ethical interpretation and practice of the Jewish religion – a practice more congenial to the support of human rights.

      “Part III – A Proposal for a Formal Alliance”

      “These parallel processes, aggression against the Palestinians and the moral corruption of the Jews are, of course, intimately connected. The more the Palestinians suffer, the more Zionism demands Jewish complicity. Thus, if the Palestinians disappear as a people, so do Jews of conscience. They have become two sides of the same coin.

      “This connection really makes a formal, international alliance of Palestinians and Jews of conscience a necessity – an alliance that builds on the very important ones that now exist in local venues. What I propose is a preliminary meeting of representatives of Palestinian organizations from Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as the Palestinian diaspora, coming together with representatives of organizations of Jews of conscience from both Israel and the Jewish diaspora. The Jewish groups should be those already promoting Palestinian human, civil and political rights. The object of such a meeting should be to set down united objectives leading to the transformation of Israel from a exclusionist “Jewish state” to a truly democratic state of all its people. Future meetings could work out mutual strategy and tactics for the work of this international united front.

      “The truth is that such a move as this is probably necessary if the horror of Zionist Israel is ever to be overcome. The Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories cannot win this war on their own. Those in the diaspora are struggling mightily but can not yet challenge Zionist influence in government circles. Worldwide civil society has become engaged in promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Christians of conscience also do vital work. Yet, it is the Jews who, most importantly, must be seen to offer a democratic alternative to Zionist racism. And, they must do this publicly, shoulder to shoulder, with the Palestinians. A redeeming future for both people lies through just such an alliance.”

  2. eljay on May 11, 2018, 11:38 am

    Zionist Israelis lionize one of their own for     standing up for justice, accountability and equality     defending the state of Israel from an imminent threat     summarily executing a wounded and incapacitated non-Jewish not-Israeli in not-Israel while enforcing the “Jewish State’s” decades-long (and counting) campaign of military occupation, oppression, colonialism and sundry (war) crimes.

    Zionist Israelis are good, honest supremacists.

  3. Kay24 on May 11, 2018, 4:52 pm

    They love, adore, and are so proud of their killers in uniform. What next, a park named after him?

  4. lonely rico on May 11, 2018, 8:41 pm

    Quite a contrast between Ahed Tamimi, confronting heavily armed IDF thugs invading her home and shooting her cousin, and Elor Azarya blowing the brains out of the incapacitated Abdel Fatah Al Sharif.
    Will Tamimi be released early, because she has “endured a lot”?

    Azarya’s Israeli courage much appreciated by Zionist heroes: Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Miri Regev et al. They wonder why they are so hated.

    What is written on the brave Israeli Elor Azarya’s T-shirt as he’s welcomed by his family and fans ?

    • Jonathan Ofir on May 12, 2018, 3:11 am

      Lonely Rico, you ask what is written on Azarya’s T-shirt.
      The headline says “I don’t have any other country”.
      Then the small text is actually the text of the Israeli national anthem:

      As long as within our hearts

      The Jewish soul still yearns,

      As long as forward to the East

      To Zion, looks the eye –

      Our hope is not yet lost,

      It is two thousand years old,

      To be a free people in our land

      The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

  5. Misterioso on May 12, 2018, 10:45 am

    “Moving Forward – This is not The Forward” May 1/18

    “Unearthing Truths: Israel, the Nakba, and the Jewish National Fund”

    “We present this special issue of Moving Forward to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic word for ‘catastrophe.’ The Nakba refers to the expulsion and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland during Israel’s creation (1947-1949).

    “In this issue, we lay out the historical record of those years to show that the Nakba was the result of a deliberate policy of mass expulsion, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing—a strategy designed to ensure that the Palestinians who had lived on the land for generations would be barred from ever returning. We also zero in on the fundamental role played by the 117-year-old international organization, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in facilitating that dispossession.

    “Our goal is that there be a serious moral reckoning with this history, and it begins with that icon of innocence, the JNF’s small blue metal box that many of our readers will remember from their childhood, boxes that beckoned us to drop in coins that would help ‘make the desert bloom’ and build the land of Israel. It was a mission that was legitimized by the governing principle of the Zionist cause: ‘A land without a people for a people without a land.’ As seductive as that slogan was, it was willfully false, as amply documented in personal testimonies of Palestinians and Israelis, historical records, and scholarly research. How, after all, could 750,000 Palestinians flee ‘a land without a people’?

    “From its founding, the JNF was encouraged by the Zionist movement to acquire land in Palestine for the purpose of settling Jews on that land. After 1948, aided and abetted by Israeli land law, the JNF continued to acquire land and also contributed to Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians from their land. This was accomplished by buying swathes of land from absentee landlords and then leasing it exclusively to Jews, by confiscating refugees’ land, and by forcibly—often violently—removing Palestinians from their land, a practice which persists today. By continuing to plant forests that conceal the ruins of Palestinian villages, the JNF seeks to erase history and memory, while hoping to whitewash its political motives and enhance its recent branding as an environmental organization. Ironically, however, it has earned widespread international condemnation for the degradation it has inflicted on the natural ecosystem.

    “While this year marks the 70th anniversary of the catastrophic events of 1948, we also know that the policies that informed Israel’s and the JNF’s actions back then continue to the present. With this issue we hope to expose the relationship between the Nakba and the Jewish National Fund; to encourage deeper conversation about the experiences and realities of Palestinians before, during and since Israel’s creation; and to facilitate among US Jewish communities—and more broadly—honest reflection, analysis, and action toward truth-telling and justice.”

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