Sharon Gal
Sharon GalMichael Plotzek

Journalist and former MK Sharon Gal said that only Elor Azariya will decide whether to appeal Sunday's verdict, which upheld a previous court decision convicting him for manslaughter. Gal has led the effort to galvanize support around Azariya ever since Azariya shot a wounded terrorist back in 2016, raising money for the trial, and retaining top legal counsel.

"I spoke to Elor Azariya yesterday, and in the end it will be his decision" Gal said in an interview with Army Radio. "He understands his options, and I trust his feelings."

The IDF Court of Appeals upheld a previous court decision Sunday, which found Azariya guilty of manslaughter for killing a wounded terrorist in Hevron in March 2016, ruling that there was not sufficient evidence to justify Azariya's claim of self defense. The ruling means that Azariya will serve an 18-month sentence in a military prison starting August 9th, barring an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Gal hinted that he believes the best course of action is to appeal for a pardon by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, and not by appealing to the Supreme Court. "If Azariya and his family believe that this can significantly reduce his sentence, then this might be the best decision" said Gal. "A shortened sentence would allow him to begin his life."

Eizenkot said Sunday in a statement that if Azariya decides to file a request for a reduced sentence, "it will be seriously considered, along with a review of the other considerations related to this case and from my commitment to the values of the IDF, its soldiers and its service members.”