Facebook shut down the official page of the ruling Palestinian political party Fatah on Monday, a move that came amidst a campaign by the social media network against accounts that promote violence.
Munir Jaghoub, a spokesman for Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization Commission, told The Jerusalem Post that the trigger for Facebook’s action was the posting of a historic picture of former Fatah leader Yasser Arafat holding a weapon alongside newly-appointed deputy leader Mahmoud al-Aloul.
Jaghoub explained that the notification from Facebook saying that the account had been closed came with an attachment of the Arafat photo. He added that Facebook had previously sent Fatah three warning messages attached to other photos.
Jaghoub also denied that the photographs constituted incitement.
Because of this photo from Beirut, (Yasser Arafat & deputy Fatah head Mahmoud Aloul), Facebook closed Fatah's account (70,000 followers). pic.twitter.com/5dePJZtVTj
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) February 28, 2017
Facebook has not publicly announced why it suspended the account.
However, Fatah’s Facebook page has often promoted or celebrated violence against Israel and glorified terrorists. Just in the past 12 months, the page celebrated the killer of graduate student and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force as “a heroic martyr,” boasted that Fatah had killed over 11,000 Israelis, and posted an image featuring blood dripping from a knife as part of a thank-you message to the UN Security Council for condemning Israeli settlement activities. In January, Fatah celebrated the the 52nd anniversary of its first terror attack with an image including illustrations of terrorists, who were also described as “martyrs.”
Perhaps the most unsettling post on Fatah’s Facebook page appeared two years earlier as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The image showed a pile of skulls, marked with Stars of David, with a Fatah flag – with the emblem of guns crossed in front of a background of all of Israel – hanging from a rifle planted in middle of the pile.
Imagery and wordplay (specifically: 'baqiya') are interesting, to put it mildly, from Fatah's page here: pic.twitter.com/ypVcujJiwn
— Grant Rumley (@GrantRumley) December 31, 2014
Palestinian Media Watch, which often exposes this inciting material, documented over 130 posts by Fatah glorifying murder and terror during 2016 alone.
[Photo: Fatah’s Official Facebook Page]