Video shows Israeli soldier greeting right-winger after shooting Palestinian
An Israeli soldier who was seen in a video shooting and killing a wounded Palestinian attacker in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday was minutes later seen shaking hands with well-known ultra-nationalist Baruch Marzel, according to Israeli news agency Haaretz.
On Sunday night, Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a second video that it says shows the same soldier at the scene shaking hands with Marzel after the shooting.
The new video, published by the Israeli news website Haaretz, shows the soldier speaking with a rescue worker.
Marzel approaches them and shakes hands with the soldier who killed Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, and the soldier in turn pats him on the arm.
The shooting came amid a six-month wave of knife, gun and car-ramming violence that has left dead at least 188 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, and two Americans.
Israel says most Palestinians were attackers and the rest died in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Marzel was born in Boston in the United States, was a disciple of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, and succeeded him as leader of the Kach movement.
The group was outlawed by Israel in 1994 after Kach supporter Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 29 Muslim worshippers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has condemned the shooting, on Sunday defended the wider military, saying: “Challenging the morality of the IDF is outrageous and unacceptable".
Palestinians said the shooting proved that Israel was guilty of excessive force and extrajudicial killings.
Local Israeli media, citing military officials, quoted the soldier as saying the Palestinian "deserved to die," the AP said.
Israel has begun a murder investigation over the shooting. The soldier, who has been identified as Elor Azayra reported by his lawyer as saying he felt his life was in danger.
However, an investigation carried out by the Israeli army into Thursday’s killing revealed that "in contradiction to claims of self-defence voiced by the soldier’s lawyer, there was no evidence supporting the claim there were fears the prone Palestinian was carrying a suicide belt.”
The reaction from the Israeli public toward Azayra has been whole-heartedly supportive.
An online petition calling for Azayra to be given a medal has been circulated widely, receiving over 50,000 signatures.
In the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh, a rally has been organised to to demand the release of Azarya, whom it called a “national hero.”
Sharif was killed after he and another Palestinian allegedly attacked and injured an Israeli with a knife.
Sharif's alleged accomplice was shot and killed, while Sharif was seriously wounded before being killed as he lay immobile on the ground.