PROBLEMS ARE PILING UP FOR FACEBOOK
The Israeli judiciary has decided to open an official investigation into Facebook Israel and its CEO for aiding and abetting Fatah’s incitement to terrorism, following a complaint filed by Palestine Media Watch (PMW) in May.
Under Israel’s terrorism law, anyone found guilty of publishing “direct calls to commit acts of terrorism” can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Last spring, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah actively incited violence on several Facebook pages against Jewish Israelis as a tactic to deflect anger in the Palestinian streets over the recently cancelled PA elections and as a strategy to shore up support.
On April 23, Fatah’s Information and Culture Committee used Facebook to post a call from PA leader Mahmud Abbas, who used the religious theme of defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a call to violence, knowing that he was about to cancel the elections. and that it would be an unpopular decision.
“They [the Jews] came, and they must not come to the Sanctuary [i.e. the Temple Mount]. We must prevent them, in any way, from entering the sanctuary,” the message reads.
Two days later, Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, issued a statement on his Facebook page calling violence a “holy battle,” adding that engaging in violence is a “mandatory personal commandment, and anyone who shies away from it is a dumb devil who, with his silence and passivity, allows the occupation to tyrannically rule over the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the holy city and the holy sites.”
On April 26, 2021, Fatah published another Facebook post that encouraged Palestinian minors to participate in terrorist acts with the words, “Don’t look at my young age. The images showed children involved in violence.
On May 8, as Arab violence caused deaths, injuries and widespread property damage throughout Israel, Fatah issued a statement on its official Facebook account calling for more violence. “The Fatah movement with all its elements and leaders calls for the continuation of this uprising… Fatah calls on everyone to raise the level of confrontation in the coming days and hours on Palestinian lands, friction points and settler roads.
The message inciting violence was posted on eight other Fatah and PA Facebook accounts, including that of Fatah Vice President Mahmoud Al-Aloul, Fatah Central Committee member Rawhi Fattouh and the PA Presidential Guard, as well as Fatah’s regional accounts in Syria and Hebron, the northern Gaza Strip and Khan El-Sheikh.
Fatah’s Shabiba student movement also posted the message on Facebook, urging Arabs to engage in a “heroic battle” in Jerusalem.