Israel arrests Palestinian children for Facebook posts

As Facebook gives the Israeli government more access to posts deemed as “incitement”, Israeli forces have been raiding the homes of Palestinians children and detaining them for months over posts on the social media site, a report by the Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) said on October 17.

The group spoke with several Palestinian minors who were arrested for their Facebook posts, interrogated for hours and held in jail for months without charges under the Israeli policy of “administrative detention”.

Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to keep Palestinians in jail indefinitely without charges.

DCIP international advocacy officer Brad Parker said: “Inability to file charges against children due to lack of evidence should never be grounds for holding them indefinitely without charge or trial.”

Ahmed, a 17-year-old Palestinian who was only identified by his first name in the report, said he was arrested in August and interrogated for hours over pictures he had posted on Facebook.

“He asked for my Facebook password,” Ahmed told DCIP recalling his first interrogation in an Israeli prison. “I gave it to him. He logged in and said it had inciting photos.”

Three days later, Israeli authorities placed Ahmed under administrative detention for six months.

The report warned that more than 19 Palestinian children, arrested since October last year, did not have any legal representation or a parent’s presence during the interrogations, which is internationally illegal.

Last month, Facebook and the Israeli government agreed to set up joint teams to fight what they call “incitement” posts on the social media website, which critics slammed as policies to target Palestinians.

The DCIP report said: “Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year that lack fundamental fair trial rights.”

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]