Israel detains eight Palestinians in East Jerusalem for Facebook posts

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Palestinian demonstrators hold banners in front of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC) building in Gaza City, Gaza on December 15,2014. Anadolu / Mustafa Hassona

Published Monday, December 15, 2014

Updated at 3:49 pm (GMT +2): Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) said Monday that they arrested eight Palestinians in annexed East Jerusalem for allegedly inciting anti-Zionist violence in postings on social media.

The eight were detained last week for "inciting hatred, violence and terrorism" against Zionists and the IOF, mostly with messages and videos on Facebook, a police spokesman told AFP.

The spokesman said one of the suspects posted a picture of himself with an M16 assault rifle.

Such postings had resulted in "many messages of support on Facebook," he said.

The operation was IOF’s "biggest, aimed at repressing this kind of incitement to violence on social networks and the Internet," the spokesman said.

Unrest has gripped Jerusalem and the West Bank on an almost daily basis for the past five months, flaring up after a group of Zionist settlers kidnapped and burned a young Palestinian to death because of his ethnicity.

Around 7,000 Palestinians, including hundreds without charge, are currently being held in Israeli prisons, more than 2,000 of whom were arrested by Israeli forces over this summer amid heavy tensions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israelis often take to social media to express their support of the Israeli army, notably during the 51-days Israeli war on Gaza, calling for an increase in the Palestinian death toll.

Several pages on Facebook and other social media specialize in posting eliminationist anti-Palestinian content.

According to Electronic Intifada, Israelis posted comments on Facebook such as “Waiting for Gaza to be turned into big blaze!” and “Gaza, Gaza a graveyard! Very soon!”

Israel typically does not prosecute anti-Palestinian incitement or using social media to express racist anti-Palestinian views.

Israeli politicians also spread racist discourse against Palestinians, most prominently during the summer war on Gaza.

In July, Israeli army commander declared “a holy war” against the Palestinians, “the enemy who defames God.”

That same month, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked said in a Facebook post that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and called for the killing of Palestinian women to prevent them from raising “more little snakes.”

More than 2,160 Gazans, more than 70 percent of them civilians, were killed and 11,000 injured during seven weeks of unrelenting Israeli attacks in July and August.

Five palestinians arrested for alleged suicide attack

Meanwhile, Israel’s security agency Shin Bet said it arrested five Palestinians for allegedly planning attacks including a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

The detainees from the West Bank were arrested in October and November and included a woman who planned to blow herself up in Israel's commercial capital, the Shin Bet said.

The five Palestinians from the town of Atil, near Tulkarm in the northern West Bank, were also allegedly planning to blow up a military bus and kidnap an Israeli soldier, the Shin Bet said in a statement, without giving further details on the alleged plot.

It added that there was a "high level of motivation among terrorist militants" after the Gaza war.

The Shin Bet said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad planned to claim the suicide attack if it had gone ahead.

"The Shin Bet arrested five Palestinian terrorists; one of them is a woman who was tasked with carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv," Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu’s spokesperson said on Twitter.

"The Palestinian female terrorist was to dress up as a pregnant Jewish woman and carry out the attack with an explosive vest under her clothes. She planned to enter Israel with a permit to get medical care, but her goal was to perpetrate a suicide bombing," he added.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

(AFP, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

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