Trial Starts for IDF Soldier Charged in Killing of Palestinian Terrorist

Israeli security forces inspect the scene as the dead body of one of two Palestinians, whom the Israeli military said were shot dead by Israeli troops after they attacked an Israeli soldier, is covered in Tal Rumaida in the West Bank city of Hebron March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
Israeli security forces at the scene where two Palestinian terrorists were shot dead after they attacked an Israeli soldier, in Tel Rumaida in Chevron, March 24. (Reuters/Mussa Qawasma)

An IDF soldier went on trial before a military court on Monday, charged with manslaughter after he was caught on video fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian terrorist in Chevron two months ago.

The rare case of an active serviceman being charged has polarized Israel, with defense officials criticizing the soldier’s conduct and large segments of the Israeli public rallying behind him.

The hearings opened Monday before the military court in the coastal city of Yaffo.

At the time of the incident, the IDF said that two Palestinians had been shot and killed while carrying out a stabbing attack that wounded a soldier. But a video released later by the left-wing group B’Tselem showed one of the terrorists still alive after the initial shooting and the soldier firing at his head. An autopsy determined the shot to the head was the cause of death.

“The truth will come out. The path will be long. We will endure,” said Binyamin Malka, a defense lawyer for the soldier. The soldier’s defense team has said that he acted as expected from a combat soldier and that the defense would seek a full acquittal.