Statement on Elor Azaria Verdict

“Those who make peace with the occupation make peace with murder.” This is what philosopher Yishayahu Leibovitz said decades ago, long before Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for shooting an already-wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron.

Today’s verdict sends a very important message: no person’s life is expendable, and a soldier whose life is not in danger cannot take matters into his own hands and execute someone in the town square.

At the same time Azaria is also the victim of circumstance. For 50 years, the occupation has turned Israeli soliders into a police force responsible for oppressing a civilian population. Unfortunately, as long as the occupation goes on, so too will the atrocities and the needless deaths, just as Professor Leibovitz said.

The Azaria incident was exposed thanks to B’Tselem’s documentation efforts. They made public the video footage of the scene. And yet, according to a report released yesterday by Yesh Din, the majority of cases of killing of Palestinians are never investigated, and most of the investigations that are opened are closed before they ever reach court.

NIF is proud to support these organizations — and other organizations working to end the occupation — in order to bring about a more just and equal society.