The Israeli occupation authorities have arrested and prosecuted hundreds of Palestinians since 2015 after analysing data on their Facebook pages and judging that they are potential “terrorists”, Haaretz revealed on Monday.
An investigation by the Israeli journalists Orr Hirschauge and Hagar Shezaf found that Israel has violated its own and international laws regarding the detention of Palestinian youths. The domestic intelligence agency Shabak, apparently, has decided that Palestinians are terrorists if they mention the world “martyr” on Facebook.
They cited the example of a 29-year-old Palestinian woman from Hebron, whose husband was killed in a car accident in Israel in 2010. She was arrested on 2 December, 2015 and said that the Israeli interrogators handed her a screenshot of a Facebook post in which there is a picture of her husband with a caption written by her, “May God unite us in heaven”.
The woman also said that she mentioned the word shahada — “martyrdom” — on Facebook, noting that this worried her interrogators. “I told them it is a word we use regularly,” she said. “The fact that I wrote it on Facebook does not mean I will do anything. Even when someone dies in a car accident we call him shahid (martyr).”
It seems that this was an unacceptable explanation for the Israelis as she was imprisoned under administrative detention for four months with neither charge nor trial. When this term ended, it was renewed. According to the Israeli journalists, when such interrogators fail to obtain the confessions they want from Palestinians over their Facebook posts, they keep them under administrative detention or turn them over to the military courts to be sentenced.
Prior to the launch of Facebook, Israel used to arrest Palestinians on other pretexts, such as contacting organisations hostile to Israel, without specifying the identities of the organisations in question. The Haaretz investigation noted that this woman was arrested in 2008 and spent time in prison over charges of contacting an organisation hostile to Israel.