‘She should have at least been shot in knee’ – Israeli MP on jailed teen protester Ahed Tamimi
Tamimi, 17, has a long record of protesting as a youngster against Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territories, and was sentenced last month to eight months behind bars for verbally and physically confronting armed Israeli soldiers in her home village. Her imprisonment has been highlighted amid the violence at Israel’s border wall with the Gaza Strip, where dozens of Palestinians have been reported killed and hundreds injured by Israeli fire.
Palestinian children involved in protests against Israel should be dealt with in the harshest possible way, Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the Israeli Knesset from the right-wing Tkuma party, which is part of the country’s ruling coalition, appeared to signal.
In a tweet on Sunday, he lamented that Ahed Tamimi was not injured or sentenced to a longer term. The tweet was a comment to a video showing the girl and other people confronting Israeli soldiers a few years ago.
“I am actually sad that she is in jail. She should have gotten a bullet, at least in her kneecap. I would have put her under house arrest for life,” he wrote in Hebrew.
Coming after the killing of Ayoub, the tweet drew public attention and criticism for inciting violence against minors, although Smotrich was adamant in his position. In a follow-up post on Facebook, he defended his words, branding Palestinian children involved in anti-Israeli protests “terrorists.”
He argued that when Palestinian children confront Israeli soldiers and are filmed on camera, this undermines the soldiers’ resolve to meet violence from Palestinians with force and thus hurts deterrence against such violence.
“Ahed Tamimi is not an innocent girl I want to be shot. She is a terrorist, whose actions hurt our security and put the citizens of Israel in danger,” he claimed. “I care about the lives of people of Israel, not the lives of my enemies. Those who criticize cruelty end up being cruel to the merciful.”
Smotrich, 38, has been serving as a legislator since 2015 and currently holds the position of deputy speaker in the parliament. A scion of a religious settler family and a married father of six, he currently lives in a settlement in the West Bank. Smotrich is a staunch supporter of a shoot-to-kill policy towards stone-throwing Palestinian teens, and on several occasions has proposed segregation of Jews and Arabs. He infamously tweeted that it was natural for his wife not to share a maternity ward with “someone who just gave birth to a baby might want to murder her baby in another 20 years.”
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