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Israeli court sentences Palestinian citizen of Israel to year in prison over ‘incitement’

March 6, 2017 5:00 P.M. (Updated: March 6, 2017 6:45 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli magistrate court in Haifa on Monday sentenced Palestinian citizen of Israel Khalid Ibrahim Muasi, 20, to one year in prison for social media “incitement,” according to Hebrew-language media.

Hebrew sites reported that Muasi, a resident of the Galilee in northern Israel, published a Facebook post in 2016 expressing support for an attack conducted by a Palestinian against Israelis inside the illegal Hebron-area settlement of Kiryat Arba, and “calling for conducting more attacks (against Israel).”

In addition to the one-year prison sentence, the court ordered a 10-month suspended sentence against Muasi in the event that he committed any “acts of incitement” after his release.

Last month, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian youth northwest of Jerusalem due to a post he published on his personal Facebook page. One week prior, an Israeli court had sentenced a Palestinian from Shufat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem to 17 months in Israeli prison for allegedly “supporting terrorist organizations” on Facebook.

In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by "incitement."

In October, a report was released by Defense for Children International - Palestine, detailing that at least five Palestinian minors had been imprisoned by Israel without being charged in previous months, after sharing social media posts that Israeli authorities alleged amounted to “incitement” to commit violence.

In September, Facebook agreed to work with the Israeli government to “minimize online anti-Semitic incitement” -- in an effort to pressure the social media site to coordinate to remove content considered to promote “terrorism.”

Israel had previously blamed Facebook outright for the perceived proliferation of incitement, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan reportedly saying that Facebook chairman and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg had “blood on his hands” for not adequately cooperating with Israel to remove content.

Earlier this year, the controversial “Facebook bill” passed its first reading in the Knesset, which would allow Israeli officials to force the social media giant to remove certain content through a court order if there are suspicions of “incitement.”

Despite Facebook complying with 95 percent of the Israeli government’s removal requests in recent months, some members of the Knesset have expressed indignation that Facebook has not taken enough action to remove content inciting “acts of terror against Jews.”

Meanwhile, Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the outbreak of violence. Many Palestinians have also pointed out that Israeli violence has continued to shape everyday life in the occupied territory, regardless of any recent “upticks” in clashes or attacks.

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