By: Itamar Marcus
Fatah, like all terror promoting organizations, needs a platform to turn its unknown terrorists into heroes and role models to emulate. Fatah has chosen Facebook as its prime tool, and through its Facebook page instantaneously promotes terror to its 224,000 Facebook followers.
A group known as Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) again demands that Facebook immediately close down Fatah’s official page before more innocent lives are lost to murderers who are inspired and drawn to terror by Fatah’s Facebook page.
In January 2019, Palestinian Media Watch sent a copy to Facebook officials of our comprehensive report on Fatah’s Facebook page documenting Fatah’s use of its official Facebook page to promote terror and glorify terrorists throughout 2018. PMW director Itamar Marcus spoke with the Director of Facebook’s Global Counterterrorism Policy Team, Brian Fishman, and described how Fatah’s use of Facebook for its terror promotion was both life threatening and in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards.
Tragically, in spite of the clear documentation, Facebook has chosen to knowingly let Fatah continue.
Below is PMW’s new report on Fatah’s use of Facebook from January to June 2019, which shows that Facebook still constitutes a central part of Fatah’s terror promotion mechanism. Facebook’s willingness to ignore all the evidence and keep the page open makes Facebook a willing and active partner in Fatah’s terror promotion. Whereas in 2018 Facebook was an unwitting accomplice in Fatah’s terror promotion, in 2109, Facebook is a partner by choice.
During their conversation, Facebook’s Director of the Global Counterterrorism Policy Team Fishman assured Marcus that Facebook would continue to follow PMW’s exposure of Fatah’s misuse of Facebook and would close it down if it violated Facebook’s rules. Facebook did not honor this commitment. PMW has flagged many Fatah posts and notified Facebook repeatedly during 2019, but Facebook has refused to remove any of them:
“It doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards… We understand that it may still be offensive or distasteful to you, so we want to help you see less of things like it… You can block [Fatah’s Facebook page] directly, or you may be able to unfriend or unfollow them.”
Facebook’s response was this: If it’s “distasteful” to PMW that Facebook is allowing itself to be used by Fatah to celebrate the murder of Israelis and promote murder of additional Israeli men, women, and children–then just don’t look. Pretend it doesn’t exist.
What is “offensive” and horrific, is Facebook’s indifference to the murder of Israelis that Fatah is promoting through its platform. Facebook was created “to build community and bring the world closer together,” not to build easy communication lines to promote terror. For Facebook to allow its platform to be used this way is abhorrent.
Violence and terror are central to Fatah’s mission. Fatah uses Facebook to glorify terror attacks in which Israelis are murdered and to present the terrorist murderers as role models. Fatah also uses its Facebook page to inform Palestinians that one of the things that remain special about Fatah is its continued adherence to terror.
This PMW report, The Fatah-Facebook Terror Promotion Partnership 2019, documents that Facebook continues to allow Fatah to use its Facebook page as a tool for its terror mission in 2019. Fatah uses Facebook as a prime vehicle to support and promote terror in real time, as well as to honor the most notorious murderers from Palestinian terror history. Palestinians who murdered Israeli civilians in 2018 and 2019 were given prominence on its Facebook page alongside past Palestinian mass murderers who Fatah presents as Palestinian “legends.”
A significant example is the post Fatah chose for January 1, 2019, to open the new year. The post glorifies 13 deadly terror attacks and terrorists of every kind imaginable: a plane hijacking, a bus hijacking, hostage-taking in a hotel, several shooting attacks, two suicide bombers, and several terror planners. This terror list opens by proudly announcing that: “Fatah went through (i.e., was at)… the ruins of the Savoy Hotel (i.e., hostage taking, 11 murdered), and in the depths of the sea with Dalal [Mughrabi] (murder of 37, 12 of them children)… was in the air on the hijacked airplane in 1972,” and so on. After citing all the terror it “went through” in the past, Fatah ends the post by emphasizing that it continues its support of terror. Fatah’s explicit message on Facebook to Palestinians at the start of 2019 stresses that all the terror mentioned in the post continues, and terror remains an integral part of Fatah’s mission.
A case in point of Fatah’s continued terror support is how it glorified terrorist Ahmed Nasr Jarrar–who murdered a father of 6 in a drive-by shooting–on the one-year anniversary of his attack. Fatah hailed him as: “the ideal example of humanity,” “the crown jewel,” “the magnificent,” and “the star of the night that guides those wandering.” [Feb. 6, 2019] Facebook is used by Fatah to demonstrate that the path from anonymity to being a Palestinian hero and role model is terror. Jarrar received this incredible acclaim on Facebook from Fatah because he murdered an Israeli.
The newest Palestinian murderer elevated to heroic prominence by Fatah in 2019 is Omar Abu Laila, who was catapulted by Fatah via Facebook from an unknown Palestinian teenager to a Palestinian role model in just two weeks. Abu Laila murdered 2 Israelis, one of them a father of 12, on March 17, 2019. Two days later Abu Laila was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers when he resisted arrest. Fatah then used Facebook continuously for weeks to lionize Abu Laila, assuring the murderer the status of a new Palestinian idol.
This new 40-page report shows that the Fatah-Facebook terror promotion partnership continues. Fatah is using Facebook to “proclaim a violent mission”; Not only does Fatah not deny that it is “engaged in violence,” it openly uses Facebook to celebrate its involvement in violence. Every time Fatah posts a new terror message on Facebook encouraging violence or presenting murderers as role models, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are given more motivation to kill Israelis.
The UN Security Council warned about the link between glorifying terror and terror attacks in 2005, when it unanimously passed resolution 1624, which included the following: “[The UN is] condemning also in the strongest terms the incitement of terrorist acts and repudiating attempts at the justification or glorification (apologie) of terrorist acts that may incite further terrorist acts.”
PMW finds it incomprehensible that while terror glorification and promotion were facilitated unknowingly by Facebook in 2018, Facebook is now Fatah’s willing partner in 2019.
PMW repeats its demand that Facebook immediately and permanently close Fatah’s Facebook page.