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Facebook shuts down Hamas-affiliated pages and accounts

Facebook shuts down a number of Hamas-affiliated accounts, groups and pages.

Date of publication: 14 July, 2016

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The social networking site shuts down a number of Hamas-affiliated accounts just a month after longtime Netanyahu adviser Jordana Cutler joined Facebook as as head of policy and communication.

Internet giant Facebook shut down a number of Hamas-affiliated accounts, groups and pages on the social networking site, pro-Hamas news site Omamh said on Wednesday.

Facebook shut down pages administered by members of Hamas, the Islamic movement elected in 2006 which currently rules Gaza.

The social networking site also closed the profile accounts of Hamas members, including its leader Khaled Mashaal's confidant Ezzat al-Rishq.

Rishq condemned the move, tweeting: "I condemn Facebook's administration for closing my personal account [...] and I consider [the move to be] biased in favour of the occupation and its dictates and against the struggle of our people for freedom."

The social networking site also closed groups affiliated with the movement and shut down the accounts of members who administered them, reported Omamh, whose own Facebook page was also closed.

"Pro-resistance pages [on Facebook] have recently seen widespread shutdowns," Omamh said, "because of the important impact they have in the Palestinian uprising."

In June, Facebook appointed a longtime senior adviser to Israeli Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu as head of policy and communication.

Jordana Cutler joined Facebook's Israel office to oversee the planning and execution of measures taken to combat the Palestinian uprising.  

The move was seen as the latest cooperation between the social networking site and the Israeli government to tackle pro-Palestinian campaigns, including the BDS movement.

Since October 2015, violence has killed at least 209 Palestinians and 32 Israelis.

While Israeli troops have been accused of using excessive force in many cases, Israeli claims that a Palestinian campaign of incitement is fanning the violence.

Palestinians say the rise in knife attacks on Israeli soldiers is rooted in frustration stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli military occupation.

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