The official Facebook page of the Palestinian ruling party Fatah has been shut down by the social media website Monday after the page posted an old photo showing late Palestinian President and founder of the party Yasser Arafat holding a rifle alongside another leader, the party said in a statement.
“Facebook administration shut down the Fatah movement page because of this photo. We will always continue to be proud of the heritage of our nation and struggle,” the resistance movement and political party said in a tweet Monday along with a photo of Arafat handing a rifle to the current deputy chairman of the movement Mahmoud Aloul.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that Munir Jaghoub, a Fatah official and the “administrator” of the Facebook page, said in a statement that Facebook closed the Fatah’s official page after the photo was posted. The page remained down as of Monday afternoon.
Jaghoub said the rifle belonged to Israeli soldiers and was captured by Fatah militants in southern Lebanon during the 1982 war. This is the second time that Facebook has shut down the Fatah facebook page, which has almost 70,000 followers.
The news comes just a few months after Facebook and the right-wing Israeli government set up joint teams in order to fight what they call “incitement” posts on the social media website, a move seen as targeting Palestinians and Arab-Israelis.
Israel has repeatedly blamed social media and “incitement” for the October 2015 unrest that saw protests against the Israeli occupation, which Israeli troops suppressed, and stabbing attacks by Palestinians against soldiers at occupation checkpoints in the West Bank.
However, the United Nations, the Palestinian leadership and other rights groups have repeatedly argued that the unrest was, in fact, the result of Palestinian frustration, especially among youth, with the continuing occupation, the illegal settlement building as well as high unemployment.
Such tactics by Facebook do not seem to apply to Israeli incitement pages or groups who have in the past promoted the mass killing of Palestinians — like during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza — and supported soldiers who carried out extrajudicial killings against Palestinians.