Netanyahu backs calls for convicted Israeli soldier to be pardoned | World news | The Guardian – He cannot see it as a criminal case outside of politics.

The rare case of an active serviceman being charged had been seen as a test of Israeli military justice.It also exposed deep divisions in Israeli society, not only between left and right, but between the Israeli military’s most senior officers – who pushed for the prosecution – and nationalist political figures, who have campaigned for Azaria’s acquittal.AdvertisementOn Tuesday, however, the Israeli military’s chief of staff pushed back at the most recent campaign slogan of Azaria’s supporters, which claims the soldier was “the child of us all”.Speaking at a conference in Herziliya, Gen Gadi Eisenkot warned that the attempt to portray Azaria as immature and confused “undermines the most fundamental values that we look for in our soldiers”.Among the pages of commentary in the Israeli media and on social media during the trial, perhaps most bizarre was the decision by Makor Rishon’s Profile magazine to declare Azaria one of its men of the year for “sparking the stormiest argument in Israeli society”, complete with a cover picture of the accused soldier posing with a gun.The video of the killing was filmed by a Palestinian volunteer for the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which accused the security forces of “routine whitewashing” in a statement after the verdict.“The fact that one soldier was convicted today does not exonerate the Israeli military law-enforcement system from its routine whitewashing of cases in which security forces kill or injure Palestinians with no accountability,” B’Tselem said.“The exception of a much-publicised trial, marked by a rare instance of video documentation, is not enough to change this norm.”

Source: Netanyahu backs calls for convicted Israeli soldier to be pardoned | World news | The Guardian