The families of five terrorist victims filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Facebook, Inc. Monday, alleging that the social media company aided Palestinian fundamentalist group Hamas in carrying out deadly attacks in Israel and the West Bank between 2014 and 2016.
Four of the five casualties were dual U.S.-Israeli citizens, whose relatives’ attorneys say were killed as the result of Facebook “knowingly provid(ing) material support and resources to Hamas . . . facilitat(ing) this terrorist gorup’s ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies”.
The lawsuit was filed citing the Antiterrorism Act of 1992, which outlaws U.S. companies from providing aid to terrorist organizations, and seeks a total of $1 billion in damages.
Responding to news of the legal filing, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, accused Israel of trying to blackmail Facebook and turn the social media platform against Palestinians, who Israel has “expressed pride” in killing.
“The real test for the owners of Facebook is to reject this pressure,” said Zuhri.
Israeli officials, on the other hand, claim a Palestinian social media campaign has kicked off a string of deadly attacks, resulting in the deaths of 39 people since the fall of 2015.
The Office of the Quartet, a collaborative effort between the UN, EU, U.S. and Russia to improve economic and institutional development in Palestine and promote peace in the region, issued a report last week, stating: “Hamas and other radical factions are responsible for the most explicit and widespread forms of incitement. These groups use media outlets to glorify terrorism and openly call for violence against Jews, including instructing viewers on how to carry out stabbings.”
An Israeli Facebook spokesperson would only say that the company wants “people to feel safe” when using the social media site, and an official statement from the company urged “people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action.”
[Reuters] [BBC] [USA Today] [Photo courtesy jewishbusinessnews.com]