Israeli Arab Teen Charged With Incitement Over Facebook Posts

Indictment accuses youth of promoting terror, but defense says state is trying to gag Arabs.

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Israeli Arabs march in Shfaram, August 4, 2015.
Israeli Arabs march in Shfaram, August 4, 2015.Credit: Rami Shllush

A 19-year-old from the Arab town of Shfaram in northern Israel was indicted Thursday for incitement to violence and terrorism because of posts he'd written on his Facebook page.

Charging individuals for social media posts is regarded as highly irregular. Arab social and legal activists say it demonstrates state intimidation against Arabs, aimed at preventing them from expressing their opinions.

The indictment, which was approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, charges Anas Khatib with three acts of incitement to violence or terror, supporting terror or identifying with it. It says that under the circumstances, there was a “real possibility” the posts could lead to an act of violence or terror.

The indictment states that in the current security situation with terror attacks and protests"the defendant posted several calls to violence or terror and encouraged such acts."

In one post Khatib wrote “each one of us should write a good word about every shahid [martyr]Their memory will only be perpetuated with avenging their blood, which means liberating our lands from the occupationit’s a promise I made; most of you are like me, an eye for an eye and a head for a head!”

The prosecution asked the court to detain the defendant until the end of the legal proceedings. The Magistrate’s Court in Acre extended his remand by six days to enable his attorneys to study the material.

Khatib’s attorneys, Arab Mahameed and Maisana Morani, of the Adalah advocacy center, said the indictment reflects a clear policy of gagging and intimidation. They said it is impossible to prove that posts of this kind have a direct effect on the public or constitute a danger to public security.

They noted that the social networks are flooded with incitement against the Arab public, yet the prosecution hasn’t indicted any of these inciters.

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