Twitter temporarily suspended the account of a senior Israeli lawmaker who tweeted on Saturday that imprisoned Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi should have been shot.
A Deputy Speaker of the Knesset thinks the Israeli army should have shot Ahed Tamimi in the kneecap to "put her under house arrest for the rest of her life.”— IfNotNow (@IfNotNowOrg) April 23, 2018
The dehumanization of Palestinians, including children, is widespread, profound, and despicable. https://t.co/sFmI5ICIFC
Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich, who is a member of the “ultra-nationalist” Jewish Home Party, posted on social media, “In my opinion, she should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneecap. That would have put her under house arrest for the rest of her life.”
When Twitter decided the post could lead to incitement, they suspended Smotrich’s account for 12 hours and told him to delete the post. The MP refused, calling the social media company’s response “a new record in silencing people. Apparently, freedom of speech is reserved for just one side of the political map. I stand behind every word in that tweet.”
Today in the Jewish State:— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 22, 2018
A general confirms snipers were ordered to shoot kids: https://t.co/DxVmvLCLoE
A member of Knesset fantasizes about shooting Ahed Tamimi in the knee: https://t.co/ClQN1IhwA9
The gov’t agrees to legalize Jews-only towns: https://t.co/yFtVsExbGv
The 17-year-old, who was imprisoned after she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier last year, is serving an eight-month prison sentence. She was also fined 5,000 shekels.
Another Israeli lawmaker who has frequently criticized the Jewish Home Party clapped back at Smotrich and insinuated he was a hypocrite.
“Should the hilltop youth from Samaria who threw stones at IDF soldiers last week also have been shot? Oh, I forgot — the law is different for enemies,” the lawmaker said.
Smotrich’s statements about suppression of Israeli social media posts distort facts. Israel has detained at least 470 Palestinians for social media posts broadly defined as incitement since 2015, a prisoner support group reports.
Smotrich’s expression of desire to shoot a Palestinian teen portrays the dangerous views of Israel’s far right. His statements further legitimize extrajudicial violence as Israeli soldiers shoot unarmed Palestinian teenagers.
Smotrich’s statements hint at the difficult challenges faced by moderate Israelis and Palestinians who seek to find a solution that will lead to peace. Debased statements from senior politicians render civil political discourse more unattainable and can fuel radicalization, thus encouraging further violence.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS, Ammar Awad