Israel holds Palestinian activist in solitary confinement to interrogate him about Facebook activity following ‘Real Democracy’ election campaign

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From the Times of Israel:

Galib Ishtewi, a 21-year-old student from the Palestinian village of Kafr Qaddum east of Nablus, told the Times of Israel that some 15 Israeli soldiers stormed his home on January 25, accusing him of stone throwing following a weekly protest organized by Fatah in the village. He said he was watching TV when soldiers entered his home and detained him and his 11-year-old brother.

Upon his arrest, Ishtewi was asked about his activity on Facebook and that of his fellow villagers. When he denied being active on the social media site or participating in the demonstration, he was taken to the nearby Ariel police station for further interrogation. There, a police interrogator again questioned him about his online activity . . .

Ishtewi told the Times of Israel that he had “friended” a number of Israeli activists on Facebook and called on them to boycott the Israeli elections, which he considered “biased.”

Following his questioning in Ariel — where he refused to admit any Facebook activity — Ishtewi was imprisoned for four days — the first two of which were in solitary confinement — and received no access to a lawyer.

“I’ve never been arrested before,” he told The Times of Israel. “Never before was anyone in my village asked about their Facebook activity.”

Responding to an email query by the Times of Israel, the IDF spokesman’s office said on Tuesday that Ishtewi “was arrested on Friday afternoon during the course of a violent and illegal riot. Security forces apprehended the suspect because he was hurling stones.”

But Ishtewi denied that allegation, arguing that, strangely, the soldiers who entered his home already knew his name when making the arrest.

Shimri Zameret, an Israeli activist who knew Ishtewi from Qaddum, said he was shocked to learn about the arrest just three days after the elections.

“We were scared. This looks like a very clear message; the army is scared of a peaceful third Intifada like the one in Egypt, where social media played a key role,” he said.

Zameret said that Ishtewi had given a number of interviews to foreign television stations.

“I can’t be 100% sure that he was arrested because of Facebook; but if I at first suspected that, after hearing about his interrogation, I now assume that is the reason,” Zameret said.

For more on the Real Democracy campaign see ‘This is an act of refusal, a democratic rebellion’: 2,000 Israelis offer their vote to Palestinians living under occupation.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation

{ 7 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. a blah chick says:

    “a violent and illegal riot…”

    As oppose to the violent and LEGAL ones the Betar people wage.

  2. seafoid says:

    1900 years in exile, billions of.prayers and all I got was this police state.

  3. Mike_Konrad says:

    Palestinian woman arrested for alleged anti-Abbas Facebook post
    link to haaretz.com
    link to haaretz.com

    First the Palestinians arrest Facebook posters, now the Israelis, if the assumptions are true.

    I suspect there is more to the story.

  4. Shimri Zameret, an Israeli activist who knew Ishtewi from Qaddum, said he was shocked to learn about the arrest just three days after the elections.
    Someone should tell this person about Mondoweiss.net …

  5. Hopmi/Obsidian : Have no shame, fill in the blank
    “Israel, the only …. in the Middle East”
    “IDF, the most … army in the world”

    You (or anyone) can suggest other such laughable entries

  6. Israel and China, two authoritarian states which police social networks, have routine censoring, and imprisonment and punishment without trial. Both occupy and attempt to alter the demographics of a neighbouring country whilst suppressing and falsifying the history and culture of that region. They are both violent and narcissistic, reacting with fury when called out and exposed for their crimes, implying that because they are the governing authority they have absolute rights over the population and can do as they wish. Both are impervious to the concept of equal human rights rejecting them in favour of absolute state power.