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Israeli forces detain Palestinian man over 'inciting terrorism' on social media

Sept. 24, 2017 7:13 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 25, 2017 3:44 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police forces have detained a 35-year-old Palestinian man for allegedly threatening violence and "inciting terrorism" on social media.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a written statement that the man was detained in Jerusalem "on suspicion of threats to violence and incitement and supporting terrorism" on social media. The suspect, Rosenfeld said, saw his detention extended on Sunday until Sep. 27.

"Police are continuing intelligence and operations to find suspects that are involved in incitement and terrorism and using social media as a platform," the statement concluded.

In recent months, Israel has detained hundreds of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that first swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by "incitement."

Critics have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the rise of unrest.

The Israeli government has also been accused of utilizing “anti-terrorism” discourse in order to justify and further entrench the Israeli military’s half-century occupation of the West Bank and decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip.

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has meanwhile called on Israel to shut down its so-called Cyber Unit, which collaborates with social media platforms to censor content, saying the unit has “no legal authority.”

By contrast, a February report released by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians had more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users -- with only very few cases being opened against Israelis.

Meanwhile, since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a far-reaching Cyber Crimes Law in June, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are now also vulnerable to being arrested by Palestinian security forces for expressing their opinions online.
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