(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Facebook closed the account of Hamas leader Ismail Radwan on Monday, continuing its campaign against Hamas leaders who use the social-media channel to promote violence.
Just last week Facebook closed the accounts of Hamas leader Salah Bardawail and Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh. Facebook also closed in July the accounts of the deputy chairman of the Hamas politburo Musa Abu Marzouk, Hamas leader Ezzat al-Rishq (who is Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal’s confidante), as well as a number of Hamas student leaders.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim responded to the account closures, telling Ma’an, a Palestinian news agency, that they amount to an Israeli terror operation against social media platforms. Qassim added that Hamas believes Israel wants to blind the public from its “crimes.”
“The occupation fears the revelation of its scandalous crimes at the expense of the Palestinian people through posts on social media,” he said.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat Hadin, a legal advocacy group which filed a lawsuit against Facebook in July, said Facebook should have taken action earlier.
“This is too little, too late. It shows that Facebook has the capabilities and the technology to track accounts and shut them down,” she said. “If Facebook doesn’t want to be charged for aiding and abetting terrorism, they should track all Hamas leaders accounts and shut them down.”
The government has also recently come down hard on Facebook. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 on July 3 that Facebook and its chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are partially responsible for the murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, whom a young Palestinian stabbed to death as she slept on June 30.
Facebook has said that there is no place on its website for encouraging violence and that it is committed to taking action against incitement on its platform.