Sgt. Elor Azaria, 20, was caught on video fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian man who had stabbed an Israeli soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron last March. The Palestinian was lying motionless on the ground when Azaria shot him in the head.
Azaria smiled as he received applause upon entering the courtroom, but the proceeding grew tense as the judge, Col. Maya Heller, refuted the defense's claims that Azaria shot the assailant in self-defense.
The judge dismissed the evidence presented by the defense point by point and at great length.
After two and a half hours, Heller said that beyond a reasonable doubt, Azaria shot the Palestinian because he thought he "deserved to die."
The case has deeply divided a country where military service is compulsory for the Jewish majority. Hundreds of Azaria's supporters, with some holding banners reading "The nation is with you," clashed with police outside the courtroom.
Azaria is expected to appeal the decision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.