IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, 19, was convicted of manslaughter on Wednesday, ending an eight-month trial that deeply divided Israeli society.
On March 24 of last year, Azaria was caught on camera shooting a wounded Palestinian terrorist.
The terrorist had stabbed another soldier before being shot and wounded. As he lied on the street bleeding, Azaria could be seen taking several steps forward and firing a single shot.
Azaria was immediately subjected to widespread and harsh condemnation, even before the trial began.
His defense later argued, alternatively, that Azaria’s bullet did not kill the wounded Palestinian and that the terrorist still posed a threat to the nearby soldiers.
But Judge Maya Heller, the head of the military tribunal that met at IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv, ultimately dismissed all such claims.
According to the unanimous decision, Azaria’s bullet did kill the terrorist, who at that point did not pose a threat.
Over the course of the trial, Azaria was defended by a number of high-ranking former military commanders. Some of them echoed widespread public sentiment that the circumstances were inconsequential, since Israel is at war with the terror groups, and Azaria had eliminated an enemy combatant on the field of battle.
Hundreds of those who felt Azaria was innocent protested outside the military headquarters on Wednesday. As the judge drew closer to pronouncing her verdict, they broke through police barricades and briefly clashed with security forces.
Azaria’s sentencing is expected to take place next month. In the meantime, his lawyers have said they will vigorously appeal the decision.