Israel charges eight Palestinians with incitement over Facebook posts

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Published Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eight Palestinians from annexed East Jerusalem were indicted on Monday for allegedly inciting anti-Zionist violence and supporting "terror" in postings on Facebook, an Israeli justice ministry spokeswoman said.

The eight men, aged 18-45, were charged at Jerusalem Magistrate's Court with "incitement to violence or terror and supporting a terrorist group" on Facebook, an Israeli ministry statement read.

The eight were detained earlier this month for "inciting hatred, violence and terrorism" against Zionists and the Israeli Occupation Forces, mostly with messages and videos on Facebook, the statement read.

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

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.

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.

Tensions heightened after 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.

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 anti-Palestinian content that encouraged the complete elimination of Palestinians.

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.”

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.



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