Israel to block access to Facebook, Google for Palestinian-owned content
Israel is set to block the social media platforms for Palestine-owned websites for the first time in a crackdown on Palestinian content.
The move, announced by the Israeli cabinet on Tuesday, comes amid the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which are taking place amid a new wave of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where Israel has carried out an unprecedented crackdown on protests.
The decision to block all sites on the internet for the third time in the last five years came after a similar move in 2016.
This time, the decision was made by the government, which is expected to pass the measure later this month.
According to Israeli media reports, the government will also block sites like Facebook and Google, as well as video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
The move follows a series of crackdowns on Palestinian-related websites since 2016, when a spate of violent attacks, some of them linked to the Israeli-based group Hamas, killed more than 120 Palestinians, including 13 children.
“The government of Israel has taken the right decision in blocking websites that are linked to Hamas and terrorist organizations and those that facilitate and encourage the Palestinian terror group, Hamas,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government has also barred access to the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West, Gaza, and East Jerusalem territories, since June.
Since then, the Palestinian leadership has urged the Israeli government to act against websites and social media for the site names of the PA, which has not yet received a response.
The Palestinian Authority is the Palestinian-led government in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu has blamed the current wave of attacks on Hamas for inciting Palestinian violence.
Israel has denied it is involved in such attacks.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is ready to take steps to protect its citizens from attacks.
But the Palestinian security services have not been able to effectively monitor Palestinian sites.