Palestinian Media Watch is reporting it has been informed by police they are investigating Facebook Israel and its CEO on suspicion the company was “aiding and abetting” Fatah’s “incitement to terror” under the nation’s Anti-Terror Law.
The watchdog organization said Israeli police have informed PMW of an official investigation under the law that allows up to five years in jail for someone who “publishes direct calls to commit acts of terror.”
PMW’s chief, Itamar Marcus, explained in an online report that the organization filed the formal complaint months ago, but it just found out about the investigation.
He explained it was back in April and May when “Mahmoud Abbas’ [Palestinian Authority] and Fatah were actively inciting violence and terror. The Palestinian population was furious that Abbas had cancelled elections to prevent a Hamas victory, and Abbas was trying to distract them with a terror wave in defense of Jerusalem. With over a quarter of a million followers, the avenue of choice for the PA and Fatah to promote violence and terror was Fatah’s Facebook pages.”
PMW alerted Facebook on May 9, writing to CEO Adi Soffer Teeni, that “Fatah was using its many Facebook pages to publish calls to commit acts of terror. PMW demanded that Facebook close Fatah’s Facebook pages.”
At the time, PMW said, “If you fail to act as the violence [in Jerusalem] rages and as Fatah and its leaders continue to abuse the Facebook platform to spread violence, we will have no choice but to submit an official complaint to the Israeli police against Facebook in general and key personnel in particular, for the aiding and abetting the violence. We expect your quick and decisive response.”
But Facebook responded with a decision to let Fatah continue “to post incitement to hate and terror, and to publish direct calls to commit acts of terror, thus fanning the terror in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel,” PMW reported.
So the complaint was submitted to police and PMW “recently was notified by the police that a formal investigation of PMW’s complaint was opened,” PMW said.
PWM said it had been submitting complaints about the incitement to terror violations to Facebook “for years.”
The complaints have included “hundreds of examples of hate and terror promotion on Fatah’s Facebook.”
“Facebook claims to be very strict about eliminating hate speech and promoting violence and closing other hate disseminating Facebook accounts. However, Facebook has made a decision to keep open the official Fatah page, thus allowing Fatah to disseminate hate speech against Israel, glorify terrorists who murder Israelis and even be a platform for Fatah’s calls to violence and terror. Given the importance of social media as a disseminator of incitement to violence, Facebook’s behavior has been life-threatening and places them as a central cog in Fatah’s terror infrastructure,” PMW reported.
Among the instances cited was a statement on May posted on Fatah’s Facebook page that said, “The Fatah Movement with all its elements and leadership calls to continue this uprising… Fatah calls on everyone to raise the level of confrontation in the coming days and hours.”
And there were specific calls for violence.
“As Abbas and Fatah have done in the past, they used the religious theme of defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a call for violence. Fatah posted on Facebook an old video of Abbas from 2014 calling for violence ‘in defense of Jerusalem.’ However, the post did not mention it was from 2014, and made it seem like the call for violence was current. A Palestinian watching the video would think Abbas made the speech that very day, introducing it with these words in the present tense: ‘The message of [PA] President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas to our people in Jerusalem – we will defend Jerusalem with our lives. Long live Fatah, the defender of our land, our holy sites, and our people.'”
That message included Abbas’ claim that “We have to prevent them [Jews}, in any way whatsoever, from entering the sanctuary.”
Then only two days later Facebook was used to promote more terror by Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi, who said “‘resistance’ – i.e., terror and violence against Israel” – was an “obligatory personal commandment,”
Another post at the time on Facebook “encouraged Palestinian minors to participate in acts of terror with the words: ‘Do not look at my young age.’ The images showed children involved in violence,” PMW reported.
Another statement on Facebook was, “Let us set the ground on fire under the occupation’s feet,” which was followed by a video, “The fire has ignited and the rifle has sung,” showing footage of Arabs rioting together.
The PMW reported, “Palestinian and Israeli Arabs responded to the PA/Fatah calls for terror. Within Israel fires were set in 112 Jewish homes, 386 Jewish homes were plundered and 673 were damaged; 849 cars were set ablaze; and there were 5,018 rock-throwing attacks; and 10 synagogues were wholly or partly burned down. In response, a small number of Jews attacked Arabs and their properties on a minor scale. No mosques were burned; 13 Arab homes were damaged; 13 Arab-owned cars were burned; and there were 41 rock-throwing attacks by Jews.”
“PMW will be turning to our friends in the U.S. Congress to see if Congress will investigate and determine to what extent U.S. Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have been involved in the decision to allow Facebook to be a platform for Fatah to incite violence and terror against Israelis and Jews,” the watchdog reported.
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