Facebook has taken down a page created by Palestinian supporters which called for a new ‘intifada’ (uprising) against Israel, after Israel officials and U.S. Jewish groups complained.
The page, which was titled Third Palestinian Intifada, was opened earlier this month calling for peaceful protests in the occupied Palestinian territories.
According to media reports, the unidentified creators of the page initially deleted comments that advocated violence.
However, as the number of members of the page swelled well past 340,000, Facebook officials said those comments eventually turned into inflammatory calls for violence against Israel and Jews, said
Andrew Noyes, Facebook's public policy communications manager, according to press reports.
Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews, a quote from the page read.
Facebook has been a popular medium for young people organizing and mobilizing protests throughout the Arab world.
Israeli Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, to complain about the page.
I asked Mr Zuckerberg that the red lines of freedom of expression and incitement and violence should not be crossed, Edelstein said.
I welcome that decision even though I am sure that more cat-and-mouse games await us and there will be attempts by our enemies and those who hate us to enter Facebook in other ways.
Abraham H. Foxman, the national director for the Anti-Defamation League, which asked Facebook to take down the page, praised the company.
“We embrace freedom of speech,” he told the New York Times. “This was beyond freedom of speech. It was not in the realm of dialogue. It was a call for violence.”
Demetri Deliani, a member of the Fatah a Palestinian party, criticized the decision to remove the page, according to media reports.
It seems that Minister Yuli Edelstein needs lessons in human rights and freedom of expression as he is not aware of the world's respect for individual opinion, he told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Agence France Presse reported that three new similar pages have already sprang up, with more than 7,000 Palestinians joining as members.
Noyes of Facebook insisted that his company believes in freedom of speech.
“We don’t typically take down content that speaks out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas,” he told the New York Times.
“However, we monitor pages that are reported to us and when they degrade to direct calls for violence or expressions of hate – as occurred in this case – we have and will continue to take them down.”