Author: ADAM RASGON
Posted on February 28, 2017
Facebook closed down the official account of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s party, Fatah, on Monday amidst an ongoing campaign the social media platform is carrying out against accounts that promote violence.
Munir Jaghoub, a spokesman of Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization commissariat, claimed in a statement on his personal Facebook page that the Fatah account was closed because of a photo posted of former PA President Yasser Arafat, grasping a rifle, while standing alongside Fatah Vice Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul.
Facebook has not commented on the closure of the account.
The Fatah account, which had accumulated tens of thousands of followers, has a history of glorifying violence.
On August 2, 2016, the Fatah account made a post, bragging about the alleged number of Israelis Fatah has killed.
“To those who argue, to the ignorant, and to those who do not know history…Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis,” the post read.
On March 29, 2013, the Fatah account praised Ayyat al-Akhras, who undertook a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2002, calling her “a bride in a martyrdom dress…who carried out a heroic operation.”
These incendiary posts and tens of others, however, stand in sharp contrast to the message of the Fatah chairman, Abbas, pertaining to violence.
Abbas has consistently eschewed violence and ordered the PA security forces to arrest Palestinians, who plan to carry out attacks against Israelis. In the past 20 months alone, the PA security forces have foiled more than 200 attacks against Israelis, according to PA General Intelligence Chief Majid Faraj.
Monday’s closure of the Fatah account comes as Facebook is undertaking a number of steps to crackdown on incitement.
Over the past eight months, Facebook has closed well more than a hundred accounts belonging to or supportive of Hamas, sparking outrage in the Islamist party’s ranks.
Israeli leaders have pointed their fingers at Facebook over the past year for enabling inciters on its platform. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan even accused Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg of having “blood on his hands” in July 2016.
Nonetheless, Israeli leaders have more recently said that their working relationship with Facebook is improving.
“Cooperation today is much better than it was in the past,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said in February.