Israel urges Twitter to delete Hamas, Islamic Jihad accounts

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan called on officials of the social network Twitter to close the accounts “terrorist” groups which he said included Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

The Hebrew Ynet website, quoted Erdan as saying: “If Twitter does not respond to the Israeli demand, it will be subject to legal measures that Israel may take against it.”

Erdan wrote in his letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and its executive chairman Omid Kordestani: “Giving terrorist organisations the freedom to operate and disseminate messages of incitement through your network is a violation of the Israeli law.”

“Unlike other social networks, Twitter has refused on many occasions the Israeli authorities’ demand to remove content published by terrorist organisations and accounts that spread incitement and support terrorism,” he added.

The Israeli minister claimed that “as a result, the terrorist organisations are expanding their activity on Twitter in order to spread propaganda, just like Hamas, which has been running a Twitter account officially since March 2016.”

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He said: “I ask you [Twitter administration] to close the accounts of the terrorist organisations, their leaders and spokesmen immediately and remove their contents.”Erdan warned Twitter: “If you do not comply, we may be compelled to initiate legal and criminal proceedings against you, in accordance with current Israeli law, and advanced legislation that holds internet companies responsible for publishing terrorist content.”

Last year, the Israeli Knesset passed the Facebook law, which allows Israeli courts to remove and delete content that Israel considers inciteful from the social media network, while allowing the police to arrest and prosecute the author.

Israeli occupation forces have arrested hundred of Palestinians as a result of their social media posts, including some who have written poems in support of the resistance and against Israel’s oppressive policies.

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