Op-Ed via Al Jazeera English

Facebook vs Palestine: Implicit support for oppression

Between 2015 and 2016, Israel arrested more than 400 Palestinians because of content they circulated online, often on Facebook, that Israel alleged amounted to "incitement". Around 200 are embroiled in court cases. One of the best-known cases is that of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who faces up to eight years in prison for a poem she posted on her Facebook page in 2015. The last witnesses in her case testified on March 28, and a verdict is expected in a few months.

At the same time, Facebook has been cooperating with the Israeli government to remove content the latter finds objectionable, including briefly shutting down the page of the political party Fatah in March, because of an old photo posted of former leader Yasser Arafat holding a rifle.

On the other hand, Israelis, including government officials, routinely post inflammatory content about Palestinians without censure from Facebook or other media companies. In 2014, just before Israel started bombing Gaza, Ayelet Shaked, an extreme right-wing Israeli parliamentarian, posted a Facebook message stating that the mothers of Palestinian fighters should be killed and their homes destroyed. Neither the Israeli government nor Facebook took action against Shaked, who is currently Israel's minister of justice.

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