A top Israeli minister on Saturday lambasted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allowing Palestinian incitement and hate speech to run rampant on his social media site. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) charged that Facebook hinders Israeli police efforts to catch terrorists, and declared that Zuckerberg has “some of the blood” of slain Israel teenager Hallel Yaffa Ariel on his hands.
Ariel, 13, was stabbed to death on Thursday by a Palestinian terrorist as she lay asleep in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. In another terror attack Thursday, two people were stabbed in Netanya. On Friday, a yeshiva head was killed and his wife and children were injured when their family car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle and overturned, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.
Israel has repeatedly blamed incitement in the Palestinian Authority for the attacks which have claimed the lives of 34 Israelis since October 1, 2015. Four people with foreign nationalities have also been killed in the attacks which have included stabbings, shootings, car-rammings and a suicide bombing.
Speaking to Channel 2 TV, Erdan called on Israelis to flood Zuckerberg with demands to clamp on down on the abuse of Facebook by terrorists and their supporters.
“Facebook, which has brought a positive revolution to the world, since the rise of Islamic State and the wave of terror, has become a monster,” charged Erdan. “The dialogue, the incitement, the lies of the young Palestinian generation are happening on the Facebook platform.”
The minister said that “to my great sorrow, some of the blood of those who have been murdered, including in the latest attacks, of Hallel,” was on Zuckerberg’s hands because of Facebook’s failure to report a series of statuses that her killer posted to the site. The terrorist, Muhammad Tarayrah, publicized his desire to die and his love of martyrdom for the Palestinian cause in a number of Facebook posts in recent months.
Erdan accused Facebook of “sabotaging the work of Israeli police” and “refusing to cooperate” when Israel Police turns to the site for assistance regarding terror threats posed by Palestinians. It also “sets a very high bar” for removing inciteful content.
“It’s time for Israelis to flood him with demands to clamp down on this platform he founded and from which he makes billions,” he said.
Erdan also took aim at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying he was directly responsible for the attacks and the glorification of the perpetrators.
“We can’t talk about incitement — on social media sites, in the media, in the schools — [without talking about] the leadership. This leader, unfortunately is seen by the world as a moderate figure. His time is up,” Erdan said.
Erdan called for Israel to “crack down” on Abbas, “curtail his movements and stop treating him as an important figure [in the peace process].” He gave the example of then prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to lay siege in March 2002 to the Muqata in Ramallah where then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was headquartered, after a number of terror suspects wanted by Israel took refuge in the compound.
Abbas “has to understand and to feel” the price of incitement, Erdan said.
Erdan said that the security cabinet, meeting late Saturday night, would announce a series of “significant” measures Israel would take in response to the recent spike in terror attacks.
Israel announced a series of responses since the Kiryat Arba attack including the closures of Hebron and Bani Naim, the hometown of the terrorist who killed Ariel, and the cancellation of his relatives’ work permits,
A number of politicians and public figures have demanded a tough response to the deadly violence in recent days, including the expulsion of terrorists’ families to Gaza or Syria, as suggested by Likud minister Yisrael Katz.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, said he would present a far-reaching plan to halt the wave of terror attacks at Saturday’s meeting.
Suggestions included in his plan, Bennett said, were the imprisonment or expulsion of terrorists’ families; the arrest of all Hamas operatives in the West Bank; the destruction of thousands of illegally built homes in the West Bank; the complete closure of the villages of assailants; resumption of full military activity in West Bank areas that are under the control of the Palestinian Authority; preventing Palestinian vehicles from traveling on Route 60 — the West Bank’s main north-to-south road; and disabling the Internet in the entire Hebron region.