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Palestinian Activist Given House Arrest for a Facebook Status

A youth sits near a cross overlooking the surrounding countryside in the displaced Palestinian village of Iqrit in northern Israel, April 21, 2014. Iqrit's original inhabitants were forcibly evacuated in the Nakba of 1948. Though the Israeli high court granted the residents, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right to return to their homes in 1951, the military destroyed the village and has since prevented their return. Only the village's church and cemetery remained intact, and are still used by village residents while they campaign for a full return.In the latest case of Israeli police detaining Palestinian activists for social media activity, a Lod man is placed under house arrest and has equipment confiscated for openly opposing the enlistment of Christian Arabs on his Facebook page.

Israel Police placed Lod resident and Palestinian citizen of Israel Ghassan Munair, 44, under house arrest this week for posting a Facebook status that decried the government’s attempts to enlist Christian Arabs into the Israeli army.

A youth sits near a cross overlooking the surrounding countryside in the displaced Palestinian village of Iqrit in northern Israel, April 21, 2014. Iqrit’s original inhabitants were forcibly evacuated in the Nakba of 1948. Though the Israeli high court granted the residents, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right to return to their homes in 1951, the military destroyed the village and has since prevented their return.

According to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Munair was summoned to the local police station, where he was interrogated for a Facebook status deemed by the police to be “threatening.” Munair allegedly posted a photo of Greek Orthodox Father Gabriel Nadaf – a spiritual leader among the Christian population in Israel, and a proponent of Christian enlistment in the Israeli Defense Forces – alongside Finance Minister Yair Lapid, with the following caption:

For the sake of freedom of speech and transparency
The faces and names of the “honorable” who appear
in the following photos are the same ones who want to enlist your sons
against your people – remember this

During the interrogation, which focused mainly on his ideological stances vis-a-vis the issue of enlistment of Christian citizens, Munair was told that he was detained due to the threatening nature of his status. Police said he could be released to house arrest for five days, under the condition that he gives the police his iPad, computer and smartphone.

Adalah filed an appeal against the conditions of Munair’s release in a Nazareth court on Monday. According to Attorney Fady Khoury, the decision to detain Munair “is illegal, as is the decision to release him under the conditions.” Khoury further stated that Munair’s post did not include any threats, and was nothing more than expressing an opinion.

Munair’s detention is just the latest in what appears to be a crackdown on Palestinians expressing dissent on the Internet.

In February, a Palestinian resident of occupied East Jerusalem was summoned by Israeli police for describing the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat, as the “mayor of the occupation.”  In late 2013, Palestinian citizen of Israel, Razi Nabulsi, was arrested for statuses discussing the occupation and racist laws affecting Arab citizens of Israel. His offense? Writing a Facebook status that read: “One day the nightmare will be over.” Just a few weeks later, police rounded up 25 Palestinian social media activists in East Jerusalem.

By: Edo Konrad

2016-10-24T07:20:44+00:00 May 2nd, 2014|Categories: News|