Israeli Sergeant Elor Azaria shot and killed Abdul Fatah Sharif in cold blood in March after the Palestinian carried out a stabbing attack at an Israeli occupation checkpoint in the West Bank town of Hebron.

In a country of mandatory military service, the ten-month long trial over the baby-faced Azaria has roiled the country.

The shooting in March past year set off intense political debate, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling his father to express his sympathy.

El-Ad also stressed that that "the exceptional conviction of a single sergeant" should not be taken as a sign that the Israeli military justice system, which is used nearly exclusively to prosecute Palestinian civilians living under military rule in the West Bank, is fair.

Meanwhile, Israeli police arrested two people yesterday for inciting violence on social media against three military judges who convicted a soldier of manslaughter over his fatal shooting of a wounded Palestinian.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called for the pardon of an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier who had just been convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian man previous year in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Prosecutors had argued that al-Sharif "represented no immediate threat for the accused or others who were present".

During a clip, recorded by a Palestinian, Azaria is seen standing calmly nearby while al-Sharif lies on the road.

Azaria then shoots him again in the head without any apparent provocation.

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But investigators said Azaria was heard saying that the injured man deserved to die.

In a verdict that stretched almost three hours, Col. Maya Heller, head of the three-judge panel, painstakingly rejected all of Azaria's defense arguments.

"This government, our government, abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most", said the House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) during his speech to the House of Representatives.

This growing rift was underscored by angry reactions from inside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition to Wednesday's manslaughter conviction of an Israeli soldier who fatally shot an already wounded Palestinian attacker.

After the verdict, Lieberman, who heads a hard-line nationalist party, said he disagreed with the "difficult" verdict, but he urged the public to respect the court's decision.

This alarming call highlights how Israeli national security is continually invoked to justify egregious human rights abuses against Palestinians. Minutes later, while Sharif was lying on the ground, Azaria shot him in the head; his action was captured on video by a local resident for the Israeli human rights NGO B'Tselem.

It comes after almost a year of a "knife intifada", in which mostly politically-unaffiliated Palestinian youths attacked soldiers and civilians on the street with knives, vehicles, and other unconventional weapons. The violence has subsided in recent months.

"Withdrawing from the West Bank should be addressed with the government, not the military", he said. "I felt that the court picked up the knife from the ground and stabbed it in the back of all the soldiers", he said. This is not a happy day for us.

"One can not use this type of force, even if we're talking about an enemy's life", the court said in its verdict. "But the deed was done, and the offense was severe".


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