Facebook campaign promotes Palestinian freedom, on money
New Facebook campaign urges Palestinians to write slogans such as 'Free Palestine' and 'Stop the Gaza Blockade' on Israeli bank notes.
Go through your wallet some day and you might see a surprise. Along with Queen Elizabeth on a British pound, George Washington on the U.S. dollar or Jewish leaders on the Israeli shekel, you might see something new.
It could be "Free Palestine" engrained across those familiar images.
The new message is the product of a new non-violent resistance campaign by Palestinian protesters against Israel's military occupation.
With the help of Facebook, its organizers said they hope to turn it into a worldwide movement, and it is one of many attempts by Palestinian groups to use the social-networking site to get out their message.
The most recent campaign was launched Saturday with one 50 NIS note across which appeared the handwritten slogan in big black letters. Before long, organizers said, they hope "Free Palestine" will show up on paper currency everywhere.
Israeli shekels are used in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but the initiative, defined as an "everywhere campaign," has quickly spread around the world.
"No matter what country you are from, no matter what currency you use, every time you get any note, write on it in pen or permanent marker 'Free Palestine,'" the Facebook page said. "This message must be spread far and wide."
One day after being launched, another Facebook page showed photos of Indonesian rupiahs, euros and U.S. dollars stamped with the message.
Queen Elizabeth II seems to be shouting the slogan on a 20-pound note while a note of 20 Canadian dollars also demands "Stop the Gaza blockade."
The three organizers said they have a "firm belief in non-violent national resistance."
"This is a simple, creative, non-violent, innovative way to resist" against Israeli occupation, they said.
"This is an ingenious way of sending a vital message to so many people," a statement said on the Facebook page. "Just 'Free Palestine' will sit in people's heads. Some will look into it more. Some won't. This vital message will reach people on something that is handled in every part of the globe each and every day."
Previous efforts have met with varying degrees of success and recognition.
"Gaza Youth Breaks Out" was the name of an initial group created in January to protest all sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Five students from the Gaza Strip, who didn't provide their identities, published a furious manifesto on the site railing against Israel, the Gaza Strip ruler Hamas, the Fatah administration in the West Bank and the international community.
"Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNRWA, the UN's Palestinian refugee agency. Fuck U.S.A.," said the manifesto, which gained a strong following on Facebook.
"We are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world," wrote the first group of Palestinians using Facebook as a place for popular demonstration.
The page, which has now turned into a plea by the authors for the end of Palestinian internal division, has received 20,645 "like" clicks. It continues to get messages of support from all over the world.
Despite that push, Hamas has continued to block all street demonstrations in recent weeks. On February 28, Hamas security forces in Gaza City stormed a rally for political freedom and the end of Palestinian division.
Even Palestinian officials have tried to make greater use of Facebook as shown by a message sent in advance of anticipated parliamentary elections.
"In your opinion, in light of the ongoing discussion to form a government, who is the person you believe is trustworthy and has leadership and distinguished scientific skills that could be relied on to be given a ministerial portfolio?" Palestinian acting Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad asked on his personal Facebook page. "Name the place and the person."