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Palestinian teen should be shot in knee: Israeli MP on jailed protester Ahed Tamimi

In this file photo taken on February 13, 2018, 17-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (R), a well-known campaigner against Israel's occupation, arrives for the beginning of her trial in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia. (Photo by AFP)

An Israeli legislator says Palestinian teenage girl Ahed Tamimi, who is currently serving an eight-month prison term for slapping an Israeli trooper, should be at least shot in the knee and put under house arrest for life, lamenting that she has not been wounded yet.

 “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 the rest of her life,” said Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich in a tweet on Sunday, referring to now 17-year-old Tamimi, who has a long record of protesting as a youngster against Israeli atrocities and policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The teenage girl, recognizable since young age by her blond curly hair as well as her courageous posture, became the latest face of Palestinian resistance when a video emerged of her slapping one and then another Israeli officer in the face during a protest in her home village of Nabi Saleh, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank on December 15 last year.

The confrontation reportedly erupted after Israeli forces shot Tamimi’s cousin in the face with rubber bullet earlier that day leading to her anger.

Israel’s Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich

Faced with embarrassment as that video went viral, the Israelis decided to arrest the courageous teenager. They took her into custody on December 19. According to some accounts, 20 Israeli army Jeeps arrived at Ahed's house before dawn to arrest her. Thirteen days later, she was charged with alleged assault, incitement, and throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers.  

Smotrich’s tweet, which came two days after the killing of 15-year-old Muhammed Ibrahim Ayyub by the gunfire of Israeli soldiers in the besieged Gaza Strip, drew criticisms for inciting violence against minors. However, the lawmaker, who is a staunch supporter of a shoot-to-kill policy towards stone-throwing Palestinian teens, remained adamant in his highly controversial position.

In this January 15, 2018 file photo, Ahed Tamimi (C) is brought to a courtroom inside the Ofer military prison near Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

In a follow-up Facebook post, he tried to defend his contentious stance, branding Palestinian children involved in anti-Israeli demonstrations as “terrorists.”

“Ahed Tamimi is not an innocent girl I want to be shot. She is a terrorist …, I care about the lives of people of Israel, not the lives of my enemies,” further claimed Smotrich, who on a number of occasions has proposed segregation of Jews and Arabs in the occupied territories.

With these posts on social media, Smotrich, a member of the Israeli Knesset from the right-wing Tkuma party, which is part of the regime’s ruling coalition, appeared to give a signal to police authorities to deal with the Palestinian children involved in protests against the occupying regime in the harshest possible manner.

Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (R) reacts in front of Israeli forces during a demonstration on May 26, 2017, in the village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

On April 9, Tamimi’s parents said their daughter had been verbally harassed during lengthy and coercive interrogation sessions, according to a video they released of her being questioned.

Her father, Bassem, said that “the rounds of interrogation came after various methods of physical and psychological pressures put on her.” He also revealed that prison authorities had “deprived” her daughter “of sleep for long periods of time in an attempt to sap her morale.

In this November 2, 2012 file photo, then 12-year-old Ahed Tamimi tries to punch an Israeli soldier during a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. (Photo by AP)

Last month, Tamimi agreed to a plea bargain with prosecutors, in which she is to serve eight months in prison and pay a 5,000-shekel ($1,437) fine. The plea deal allowed her to avoid years-long prison terms. She is expected to be released this summer.

Earlier this month, Gaby Lasky, Ahed’s lawyer, also stressed in a complaint that the interrogator's actions were a “gross violation of the law” which amount to sexual harassment. 

Demonstrators hold posters reading: “Release Ahed” during a protest demanding Israel release Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, in Paris, France, on January 4, 2018. (Photo by AP)

Almost a week after Israeli forces arrested the teenage girl, Ben Caspit, an Israeli columnist, reportedly notorious for his radicalism, called for the punishment of Ahed away from the public eye, in what Palestinian and other media suggest is a tacit encouragement of sexual abuse and even rape. The provocative remarks further infuriated the Palestinians, who have since staged several protests demanding her release.

Amnesty International in January also called on the global community to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into releasing the Palestinian teen activist.

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