Legendary Israeli general Uzi Dayan (ret.) appeared in court on Monday to state his opinion that 19-year-old IDF soldier Elor Azaria did the right thing in shooting a wounded and disarmed Palestinian terrorist back in March.
Azaria’s manslaughter trial has been a divisive topic in Israel in recent months.
Video footage of the incident shows Azaria shooting the terrorist as the latter lie bleeding on his back following a failed stabbing attack against other soldiers.
Azaria later testified that he and other soldiers feared the terrorist was in possession of a bomb or other weapon and still posed a threat.
Whatever the case, Dayan told the court that all terrorists should be killed.
Dayan noted that as head of Israel’s Central Command in the late 1990s he “ordered [soldiers] to kill terrorists just because they’re terrorists, regardless of their condition, whether they are dangerous or not.”
“Terrorists,” continued Dayan, “should be killed. In any situation? No. But as for the question whether terrorists are sentenced to die, the answer is yes.”
Dayan later served as deputy chief of staff and then as head of Israel’s National Security Council.
Azaria was also defended by Gen. Dan Biton, head of the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate, and formerly the head of the Doctrine and Guidance Brigade in the General Staff.
According to Biton’s expert opinion, Azaria “did not know whether or not the terrorist had a bomb,” and was therefore right to open fire.
Biton went on to chastise his fellow commanders for shirking responsibility for the operational failures on the day in question, including a clear failure to properly check if the wounded terrorist was still armed.
Instead, Biton lamented, everyone is intent on making a scapegoat out of a 19-year-old soldier who acted in a moment of pressure and perceived danger, just as he was trained to do.
“I’ve been in that situation,” said the general. “If a soldier kills for no reason, he should go to jail. But in this case I disagree with the prosecution. Or should every soldier go to battle with a lawyer at his side? You are emasculating the army.”