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Israeli police detain Palestinian for 'inciting violence and terrorism' on Facebook

Aug. 20, 2017 3:33 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 21, 2017 1:22 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli police have detained a Palestinian over allegedly “inciting violence and terrorism” and expressing support for the so-called Islamic State on Facebook, an Israeli police spokesperson said on Sunday.

Luba al-Samri wrote in a statement that a man in his 40s who was living in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, previously a resident of Shufat refugee camp in occupied east Jerusalem, was detained last Friday and saw his remand extended on Sunday for interrogation.

She said the case against the Palestinian, who was not named, was opened several months ago after Israeli police monitored posts shared on his Facebook page in support of ISIS and its activities in various countries, including videos depicting executions carried out by the group.

The police spokeswoman said that the man had been sharing such posts since 2015 up until recently, and that he was detained “due to the seriousness and danger of posts that incite for violence and terrorism.”

She said the investigation and interrogations of the man were ongoing.

Israeli leadership has boasted numerous times that severe security measures and "Facebook arrests" have succeeded in reducing a trend of small-scale attacks against Israelis, despite a poll conducted last year by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research that found support for attacks declined "due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy."

Israeli news daily Haaretz reported in April that Israeli forces detained at least 400 Palestinians in less than a year over social media activity, and that 400 others were detained for the same reason by the Palestinian Authority through its widely condemned policy of security coordination with Israel.

As of January, only 200 Palestinians faced trial for such charges, according the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh. A more recent report by Haaretz revealed how Israel has been monitoring social media profiles and subsequently making arrests when “the kid doesn’t know that he is a terrorist yet,” as one Israeli army officer put it.

The report also quoted a former Israeli military prosecutor as saying that since September 2015, dozens of social media posts resulted in administrative detentions -- Israel’s widely condemned policy of internment without trial or charge used almost exclusively against Palestinians -- while others were formally convicted if they were “identified as liable to carry out a terror attack.”

By contrast, a report released by 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users -- without a single case being opened against an Israeli.
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