Israel Targeting Palestinian Protesters on Facebook
Israel has every right to protect itself against terrorists and to take action against terrorists. Israel goes far beyond that in its treatment of the Palestinian people, apparently taking the view that every single Palestinian, regardless of age, is in fact a terrorist, and operating on that assumption. Alex Kane reports at The Intercept:
On the morning of August 28, 2014, two days after the end of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Sohaib Zahda hopped into a shared taxi in Hebron that was going to Ramallah, where he had a job interview.
Thirty-three-year-old Zahda, who owns a paintball company, is an unlikely terrorist. An avid cyclist who speaks Arabic, Italian, French, and English, he is a member of Youth Against Settlements, a nonviolent organization that protests against Israeli settlers who live in and around Hebron. He is opposed to Hamas firing rockets into Israel. He likes to tell visitors his grandfather had Jewish friends in Hebron in the 1920s.
Hebron and Ramallah are about 25 miles apart. To get between them, Palestinians must pass through the “container checkpoint,” manned by Israeli soldiers on a road that connects the southern West Bank to its central and northern cities. At the checkpoint — named for a shipping container once located at the barrier — Palestinian pedestrians queue up to get their IDs checked, while cars wait for inspection and for soldiers to wave them through. When Zahda’s taxi drove up, masked Israeli soldiers stopped the vehicle, asked him to get out, and then handcuffed him.
They took his mobile phone and his bag and brought him to a room near the checkpoint. After two hours, he was told he was being investigated for threatening an Israeli army leader. The alleged threat was made on a Facebook page calling for an uprising in Hebron. Zahda was then blindfolded and placed in an Israeli military jeep.
The soldiers took Zahda to a counterterror unit of the Israeli police, which held him for the crime of incitement to violence. At one point during Zahda’s interrogation, the police showed him content they had collected from his personal Facebook page. But Zahda wrote Facebook posts from the West Bank, an area governed not by Israeli civilian law but by Israeli military law. The police had no jurisdiction over Zahda, said Nery Ramati, his attorney. Instead of releasing him, the police transferred Zahda to an Israeli military prison. When asked about his arrest and interrogation, the Israeli army responded, “Because Mr. Zahda’s case is still open, we are unable to elaborate on any specific details.” The Israeli police did not respond to detailed requests about the interrogation.
Zahda’s case, still ongoing, is part of a new battleground in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians using social media to spread news about arrests and deaths, and Israeli intelligence and law enforcement officers scouring the web for clues about the next stabbing or protest. . .