Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein recently approved the interrogation of a Palestinian man from Hebron, after the latter posted antagonistic comments about the commander of the Golani Brigade, wishing that he “went to hell.”
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This investigation by the police’s Lahav 433 unit is one of dozens of other investigations of suspected incitement that were approved by Weinstein during Operation Protective Edge. Archival records show that this is the first time a Palestinian was detained and interrogated in Israel on suspicion of incitement, let alone for postings on Facebook.
The Palestinian in question is Zahda Suheib, a 32-year-old man from Hebron who manages a Facebook page called “The people of Hebron.” Among other things he wrote: “To all Druze and Bedouin collaborators and to all Moslem and Christians serving in the IDF, know how you are valued by the Jews.” In another status he wrote that “there is news of the death of the murderous Golani commander, killer of children, Ghassan Alian, after an attack by the brigades. Every sinner comes to his end; the blood of Gaza’s children was not shed in vain. Go to hell, Ghassan, you and anyone who followed you.” The post refered to a false rumor that made the rounds during the fighting.
In another posting Suheib wrote: “Ghassan Alian, responsible for the massacre of Gaza’s children, is from Shfaram. People of Shfaram, you speak Arabic and live in Palestine. Is this how you consent to killing us, through one of your sons? This is a massacre of Gaza’s children, carried out by a Druze from Shfaram.”
Last Thursday, police burst into Suheib’s home in Hebron and arrested him. On Friday the court considered a request to extend his remand. To date the police have not requested the arrest of anyone accused of incitement during Operation Protective Edge, and all those detained were released to house arrest. In this case the police requested that Suheib be detained for seven days. The police representative maintained in court that this case was different since the accused appealed to residents of Shfaram. Suheib’s attorney Neri Ramati argued that his client had no obligation to be loyal to Israel, since he is a Palestinian.
“Most people in Hebron don’t like Israelis, just as most Israelis don’t like Palestinians. In this case I’m not sure what the state wants. It might as well arrest all Palestinians,” Ramati said.
The attorney told Haaretz that it is unjustified to arrest anyone and interrogate them just for posting Facebook comments that object to the behavior of IDF soldiers during a war.
“If there are grounds for arresting my client, hundreds of thousands of other people should be arrested for much more serious comments made in recent days,” Ramati added. Still, after the debate the court decided to extend Suheib’s remand by seven days.