Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (R), who was caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian man in the head as he lay subdued on the ground, is comforted by his mother during a hearing at a military court in Tel Aviv, May 9, 2016.
A new video footage refutes an Israeli soldier’s claim that he shot dead an already injured and subdued Palestinian back in March because he posed a threat to the lives of fellow troopers.
Sergeant Elor Azaria had claimed that the wounded man was within reach of a knife and was suspiciously wearing a jacket.
Israel’s Channel 2 aired on Sunday a graphic footage of the moments prior to the deadly shooting of the wounded Palestinian, named Abed Al-Fattah Al Sharif, in which he can be seen at least a meter away from the knife.
In the footage, several other people, including soldiers and paramedics, are also reportedly seen wearing coats on the day of the shooting, which leaves no room for any suspicion as to why Sharif was wearing a coat.
Azaria shot in the head the unarmed Palestinian who was already lying down shot by Israeli forces for alleged involvement in the stabbing of another soldier in the West bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) in March.
An image grab from a video released on March 24, 2016 by B’Tselem shows an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon before shooting dead an already-subdued Palestinian man, in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron). (By AFP)
He was arrested for the fatal shooting of Sharif and charged with manslaughter and inappropriate military conduct in the Jaffa Military Court on April 18.
Azaria’s trial was to start at the military court on Monday. The Channel 2 footage would be presented by prosecutors to consolidate a criminal conviction against him, according to the television channel.
The soldier, however, was released last month so he could celebrate Passover with his family. Meanwhile, a poll conducted last month found 57% of Israelis did not think the soldier should have been arrested.
The shooting was condemned by the Palestinian government, the UN special envoy to the Middle East
, Nickolay Mladenov, and several rights groups as an “extrajudicial execution.”
However, a number of Israeli military officials had claimed that the Israeli trooper had acted in self-defense.
Tensions have heightened in the occupied territories since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
More than 200 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.