IDF set to indict soldier who killed already-wounded, unarmed Palestinian stabber

Israeli soldiers remove the body of a Palestinian assailant who was allegedly shot in the head by an Israeli soldier, March 24, 2016. © Hazem Bader
The IDF has confirmed that it will indict the Hebron soldier who shot dead a 21-year-old Palestinian attacker, even though the unarmed victim was already wounded and was lying motionless on the ground.

The indictment is to be filed on Monday, with Lieutenant Colonel Judge Ronen Shor extending the soldier’s detention.

The accused is currently held in the so-called ‘open detention’ on an army base, but the prosecution wants to upgrade it to full detention.

There has allegedly been pressure on prosecution to reduce the charge to negligent homicide, the Jerusalem Post reported. But the prosecution is pressing for the initial, more serious, charge of manslaughter.

The prosecutor also said that checks had confirmed that the soldier’s bullet, and not earlier shots fired at the Palestinian, was the fatal one.

The incident happened on March 24, with shocking footage – proved to be authentic and untampered with by the prosecution – emerging a few hours later, showing what many called ‘execution’. The video was uploaded by B’Tselem human rights center.

The footage went viral, triggering an outraged backlash all over the globe, and dividing opinions inside Israel. Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot condemned the soldier’s actions, while Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that the IDF shouldn’t be criticized at all, no matter what is done.

“The soldiers of the IDF, our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions. We must all support the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the IDF, and our soldiers, who safeguard our security,” Netanyahu said, as quoted by AP.

What’s more, the soldier’s actions were supported by about 57 percent of Israelis, who said there was no need to arrest the soldier or launch an investigation, according to a survey carried out for the local Channel 2 in the wake of the incident.

READ MORE: ‘Extrajudicial execution’ by Israeli soldier downgraded to manslaughter by military tribunal

Over 40 percent of those polled believed that the soldier's actions were ‘responsible’, and a meagre 5 percent described the shooting as ‘murder’.

The accused soldier himself was sure he “did the right thing to prevent anything else bad from happening," the Jerusalem Post reported.