By: Baruch Yedid
A campaign launched on social networks over the weekend is calling on Arabs to boycott the social media accounts of the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
The campaign, which started several days ago by social activists and was apparently initiated by Fatah, urges residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to choose between following the campaign participants and continuing their following of COGAT’s Facebook page in Arabic.
Campaign initiators noted the “shameful fact” that over 600,000 Palestinians follow the coordinator’s Facebook page, and Fatah activists told TPS that the campaign will continue because of its success, as more than 40,000 users have stopped following COGAT on Facebook.
The Fatah movement’s official account appeals to the residents of the PA, warning them “not to forget even once the existence of the occupation or to see life as natural in the shadow of its presence, because if you do, then you are moving towards treason.”
The campaign’s objective is to prevent any direct connection between the Israeli system and the PA public, and this step follows Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration of the PA’s severing of relations with Israel, in both the security and civilian spheres, which are coordinated by COGAT.
Munir Jarub, a Fatah spokesperson for the campaign, claimed on his Facebook page that COGAT is using social media to recruit agents to operate in the Palestinian Authority, as well as presenting Israel in a positive light.
Nasser Laham, a journalist close to Abbas, alleged over the weekend that through social media Israel is listening to surfers and penetrating their accounts for various purposes.
The PA’s official WAFA news agency also joined the campaign and circulated photos of Lieutenant Colonel Avihai Adrei, the IDF Spokesman in Arabic, and Ofir Gendelman, an Israeli diplomat who runs the Prime Minister’s Office social media account in Arabic.
The background for the campaign is the Fatah’s fear that Israel is working to establish an alternative leadership to Abbas in response to his decision to cut off the coordination with Israel and abolish the PA’s commitment to the peace agreements.
Last week, the Fatah circulated a document among the organization’s leaders warning of an Israeli campaign that could hurt the Palestinian Authority’s stability and blacken the image of its leaders to press them to accept Israeli dictates towards the application of sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria, and in response to the severing of security relations with Israel.
Israel, and specifically COGAT, has significantly assisted the PA in its struggle to stem the spread of the virus.
COGAT has coordinated training sessions for many medical professions from the PA given by Israelis.
In addition, the passage of dozens of trucks carrying medical equipment, medications and cleaning materials, donated by various international bodies, has been coordinated by COGAT.
COGAT has published the Israeli health ministry guidelines on prevention and protection from the virus spread and ways to deal with contagion and outbreak in Arabic.