Palestinian group to host major online activism event amid Israeli crackdown

Palestinian group to host major online activism event amid Israeli crackdown
3 min read
19 Dec, 2017
7amleh, the Arab Central for the Advancement of Social Media, will host its second international forum in the West Bank next month, aimed at safeguarding the rights of online activists.
Online activism remains a key platform in fighting for Palestinian rights today [Anadolu]
A Palestinian group is set to host a major international forum on digital activism next month amid increasing pressure by Israeli authorities to curb anti-Israeli engagement on social media platforms.

The Arab Central for the Advancement of Social Media, 7amleh, will hold the one-day event in the West Bank on January 17.

The group seek to explore ways to overcome current major challenges faced by Palestinian online activism, as well as "providing a platform for discussions around issues affecting digital activism in Palestine and the wider international community".

It invited to the event representatives from Facebook, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Wikipedia to discuss "Israeli violations of Palestinian digital rights" and using video blogs for documentation among other issues.

The organisers spoke to The New Arab on the importance of the event, which comes following a successful first forum on digital activism earlier this year.

"The 2018 Palestine Digital Activism Forum comes at a crucial juncture for digital activism and digital rights," Nadim Nashif, 7amleh's director told The New Arab.

"Palestinians are experiencing increasing arrests and pressure to curtail their online activism," he said, "Such repression is a rising trend worldwide."

The issues to be addressed at the event affect individuals worldwide, and not just those in Palestine.

"The Forum aims to bring the international community to Palestine to discuss topics and challenges related to these issues which have implications for us all," Nashif said.

"Within this we will share best practice, learn about new innovations and we will work together to solve or address some of the challenges that are facing digital rights and digital activism today."

Nashif insists that online activism remains a key platform in fighting for Palestinian rights today.

"Recent global events, and those closer to home in Palestine, have made it clear that we need to be more proactive in fighting for and claiming our rights," he said.

"The digital world provides opportunities to think outside the box when it comes to traditional activism, but we need to work together to be as effective as possible."

The forum is expected to bring together around 300 people, including locals and internationals, Nashif told The New Arab.

Omar Shakir, director of Human Rights Watch in Israel and Palestine, believes the form will provide a much needed platform to safeguard the rights of pro-Palestinian online activists.

"Recent years have seen all authorities on the ground, including Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, arrest Palestinians based on social media posts and otherwise use the digital space to restrict rights," Shakir said.

"This forum provides a needed space to grapple with these pressing challenges and consider how best to safeguard the rights to free expression, privacy and protection of data."