Israeli Politician Tweets That Ahed Tamimi Should Have Been Shot

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Ultra-nationalist politician Bezalal Smotrich posted on social media, “In my opinion, she should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneecap."

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi

Twitter temporarily suspended the account of a senior Israeli lawmaker who tweeted on Saturday that imprisoned Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi should have been shot.

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.”

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

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