Twitter Temporarily Suspended Israeli Lawmaker Who Said Palestinian Teen Should've Been Shot

Bezalel Smotrich says he will appeal social media company's demand that he deleted tweet about Ahed Tamimi, who was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier

Habayit Hayehudi lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset, February 13, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi

Twitter temporarily suspended the account of Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich after he posted on the weekend that a Palestinian teenager who slapped an Israeli soldier should have been shot in the kneecap.

Smotrich's account was suspended for 12 hours and he was instructed to delete the tweet, but the lawmaker said he would refuse and would appeal Twitter's demand that he do so.

Twitter determined that the post was abusive and could incite people to harass, terrorize or silence an individual.

Smotrich said in response that Twitter's reaction was "a new record in silencing people. Apparently, freedom of speech is reserved for just for one side of the political map. I stand behind every word in that tweet."

On Saturday, Smotrich tweeted about teenager Ahed Tamimi: “In my opinion, she should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneecap,” he wrote. “That would have put her under house arrest for the rest of her life.”

Tamimi, 17, was arrested and charged soon after the incident took place last December. In March, she was convicted in a plea bargain of assaulting a soldier, incitement and interfering with a soldier in the line of duty. She was sentenced to eight months in prison plus a fine of 5,000 shekels ($1,400).

Screenshot of message from Bezalel Smotrich displaying message from Twitter