Illustration: IDF soldier (Image credit: Moshe Milner/Government Press Office of Israel)
There is much to be said about the trial of Elor Azariya, a decorated soldier who was abandoned by the political and military elite after he shot a still moving wounded terrorist in Hevron.
On Sunday, Azariya’s appeal of his 18 month manslaughter conviction was rejected, leaving him to serve time as a common criminal for shooting an Arab terrorist who minutes earlier stabbed one of his comrades with an accomplice. Azariya shot the prone terrorist after seeing him move his hand - possibly for his knife that was within reach, or potentially for a hidden detonator given that concerns of a bomb belt being under the terrorist’s unseasonably heavy jacket had not yet been ruled out.
Much can be said about the case, but there is one point that has largely been ignored: namely, the fact that just over two weeks ago a lethal terror attack on the Temple Mount bore out the necessity of Azariya’s actions, and highlighted the folly of trying to second guess him.
Video from the attack on July 14, in which three Israeli Arab terrorists murdered two Israeli Druze border police officers, shows part of the confrontation on the holiest site in Judaism:
In the video, one of the terrorists – who incidentally were lauded as heroes in a massive funeral in their hometown of Umm Al-Fahm by their fellow Arab citizens of Israel – is seen lying on the ground wounded, and to his right a medic is kneeling right next to him and starting to take out instruments from his bag. Israeli security force members are seen to his left with their backs turned, thinking the terrorist to be “neutralized.”
At that moment the terrorist is seen springing up and lunging at a surprised soldier who desperately backpedals and opens fire on him. After several heart-stopping seconds, the soldiers manage to take him down, before peppering the terrorist’s body with bullets.
More than any single piece of the massive amount of evidence presented in the Azariya case, this clip from a recent major attack would seem to prove that Azariya’s actions were justified, as a wounded terrorist is still a potential murderer until made otherwise.
Those who decided not to clear Azariya’s name for acting to defend everyone at the scene from the potential threat – as was done in the case of Yisrael Shomer, a colonel from a kibbutz who shot a fleeing Arab terrorist who had thrown a rock through his windshield – should be remembered and held accountable the next time a “neutralized” terrorist returns to action. This is because they have forced Israeli soldiers to ask themselves in the critical split second whether taking out the potential threat is worth the jail time.