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Israel detains Palestinian woman for 'incitement' on Facebook

April 20, 2017 9:18 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 4:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces reportedly detained a 22-year-old Palestinian woman from occupied East Jerusalem for alleged “incitement” on her personal Facebook page.

Israeli media reported that the woman would be presented to an Israeli court on Thursday to extend her detention following her interrogation.

Earlier this week,
Israeli news daily Haaretz reported that Israeli forces have detained at least 400 Palestinians in less than a year over social media activity, citing sources from the Israeli army and Israel’s internal security service the Shin Bet, with only “some” of the detainees having faced trial.

Previous reports indicated a lesser rate of so-called Facebook arrests, saying 400 were detained over the last two-year period. Meanwhile, the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh said in January that among these, only 200 Palestinians were involved in court cases.

According to the Haaretz report published Sunday, which lauded the detention campaign as an “impressive achievement,” the Israeli army alleged they had stopped 2,200 Palestinians "at various stages of planning and preparing for attacks, mostly stabbings and car rammings,” through detentions based intelligence gathered on the internet.

Haaretz claimed -- as Israeli leadership has numerous times since a wave of violence in the fall of 2015 appeared to ebb over the past year -- that the severe security measures have succeeded in reducing a the trend of small-scale knife and car ramming attacks against Israelis.

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, while analysts have dismissed the Israeli narrative of “lone wolf” assailants under the influence of online incitement as overly simplistic.

Furthermore, despite boasts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that attribute the decrease in violence to "the (Israeli) government's strong, responsible and methodical policy," the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll last year that support for stabbing attacks declined "due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy."

Many Palestinians have also pointed out that Israeli violence has continued to shape everyday life, regardless of any recent “upticks” in clashes or attacks.

Meanwhile, suppression of Palestinian freedom of expression has seen bookstores shuttered, activists, journalists, novelists, and poets detained, while a wider security crackdown in the form of large-scale punitive measures in the occupied West Bank has been branded as collective punishment by rights groups and international organizations.
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