The soldier was not convicted for the killing, but for shooting without receiving an order from his commanders.
30 October 2019
An Israeli soldier who shot dead a Palestinian teenager during the great march of return protest has been sentenced Wednesday to one month of community service.
The incident took place on July 13, 2018, when the Israeli soldier shot dead 15-year-old unarmed Othman Rami Halas.
A video uploaded to social media showed the young boy standing by a fence with several women and children waving Palestinian flags. At some point, Halas is seen trying to climb the fence and then, he falls to the ground after the soldier shoots him in the torso. The teen was declared dead some moments later at the scene.
According to a statement from Israel’s military cited by The Times of Israel, the soldier whose name is blocked under a gag order was not convicted for the killing, but for shooting without receiving an order from his commanders.
As a result, he was only sentenced to a month of the military equivalent of community service and “a downgrade to the rank of private, for endangering life by deviating from orders,” according to Haaretz.
“This makes a mockery of justice,” Executive Director of the United States Campaign for Palestinian Rights Yousef Munayyer said, adding that “this soldier got in trouble for not waiting his turn.”
The sentence caused outrage among rights activists and groups which like the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor which fears the light conviction could open the way for similar shootings by Israeli soldiers.
“The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor finds the sentencing to be entirely disproportionate with the criminal act of killing an unarmed child protester, and may encourage other IDF soldiers to follow the lead of the incriminated sniper, knowing that the consequences are negligible and lenient,” the group said in a statement.
“Israeli security forces operate with near impunity, facing few repercussions for abusive and illegal actions, such as beatings and killings. The Euro-Med Monitor is concerned that the court’s decision will encourage further killings and questions the impartiality of the Israeli judiciary,” they added.