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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 15th July 2016 > COPS AND BLOGGERS


Concerned that social media is fueling attacks, Israel is increasing online monitoring-and angering Palestinians

MAJD ATWAN, a 22-year-old Palestinian beautician and activist, sits on the front steps of her family house in Bethlehem on May 24, enjoying her freedom. Less than a week earlier, she was behind bars after an Israeli military court sentenced her to 45 days in prison and gave her a $749 fine. Her crime: posting comments on Facebook about violence between Palestinians and Israelis, including one post in which she praised a recent bus bombing in Jerusalem. “They arrested me because they want to stop other Palestinians resisting the occupation,” says Atwan. “But it’s not working, it won’t stop us.”

Since the latest uptick in violence that began last October, the Israeli military and police have been increasingly monitoring social media posts by Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Palestinians say this monitoring and the arrests that follow violate their right to speak freely online. Israel says that reading Palestinian posts on social media is one of the only ways it can prevent lone-wolf attacks. Israeli officials say the monitoring and arrests also enable security officers to identify those who are not themselves planning to commit acts of violence but whose posts glorify violence.

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Can Europe Save Itself? - On the morning after the Brexit vote, a dazed Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, a body consisting of the heads of government of the 28 countries in the European Union, was asked to react to the historic vote. Ironically, he quoted Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century philosopher whose work influenced the rise of German militarism that led to two world wars - the conflagrations the EU was designed to prevent from happening again. “What doesn’t kill you,” Tusk proclaimed, “makes you stronger.”