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Israel arrests 280 Palestinians for Facebook posts

Facebook logo [West McGowan/Flickr]
Facebook logo [West McGowan/Flickr]

The Israeli occupation authorities have arrested 280 Palestinians since the start of the Quds Uprising in October 2015 for posts or “likes” on social media, the PLO’s Palestinian Prisoners’ and Freed Prisoners’ Committee said on Sunday.

According to Quds Press, the head of the studies and documentation department with the Committee said that Israel has increased the number of detentions of social media users, including women and children who posted, commented positively about or liked pro-Palestinian social media content. Abdel-Naser Ferwaneh explained that most of those detained are from occupied Jerusalem. While some were indicted and sentenced to prison terms or fined, others were held under administrative detention with neither charge nor trial.

The Israeli courts, he pointed out, banned those who were released from detention from using social media for periods specified by the courts themselves. The Palestinian official added that such detention for using social media “is arbitrary and violates all international laws and human rights conventions that guarantee free speech and freedom of expression.”

Israel has a special unit dedicated to monitoring Palestinian use of social media to express their rejection of the Israeli occupation and its practices against the people of Palestine.

Read: Israel military uses Facebook post to threaten Palestinian family in Gaza

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre noted that the Israeli occupation authorities have arrested 5,700 Palestinians since the beginning of this year, including 1,980 from occupied Jerusalem. Although hundreds were released after questioning, dozens have been kept in custody.

Of the 6,400 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, 52 are women and there are 10 girls and 300 boys. While 11 of the prisoners are MPs, there are around 450 Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention orders.

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