Israeli Court Sentences Palestinian Journalist to 6 Months for “Incitement”

Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem sentenced the Palestinian female journalist Samah Dowaik, from Silwan town east of Occupied Jerusalem, to six months of actual imprisonment after “convicting” her of practicing incitement on Facebook, according to Palestinian media.

An Israeli court on Monday sentenced a Palestinian journalist to six months in prison over charges of “incitement,” her family said.

The family of Samah Dweik, a 25-year-old journalist working for Shabakat al-Quds (The Jerusalem Network), said that she was detained in April in her home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud over alleged “incitement” on Facebook.

She is now held captive at Hasharon jail. 20 Palestinian journalists are detained in Israeli jails. Some of them are serving high sentences while the others are held either under custody or under the illegal administrative detention.

The Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem found her guilty of posting “inciting” posts on social media.

Amjad Abu Asab, the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, told Ma’an in May that Dweik had been detained after writing a status and sharing an image in support of Palestinians recently killed by Israeli forces.
In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by “incitement.”

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

In May, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) estimated that at least 28 Palestinian women had been detained by Israel since October over alleged “incitement” on social media, with six of them still in prison, including Dweik.

An Israeli lawyer has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook Inc., claiming that the social media platform allowed members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to plan and carry out attacks against Americans and Israelis.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan have also proposed a bill that would compel social media providers like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter to remove “criminal” content that constitutes a danger to personal, public, or state security.

In response to incitement claims against Palestinians, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat condemned the current Israeli government for its failure to “entrench a culture of peace and coexistence within Israeli society” in a statement last week.

Erekat flipped the script, holding Israel responsible for incitement, saying “official Israeli discourse entrenches hatred, racism, and discriminatory attitudes against Palestinians. The discourse is only further entrenched by the institutional protection that is given to those who commit or incite violence against Palestinians.”

Statistics showed that Israeli forces arrested 157 Palestinians between the beginning of October 2015 and the end of April 2016 over charges related to publishing on social networking sites.