Facebook Closes 'Third Palestinian Intifada' Page

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The powers that be at the social networking giant, Facebook, shut down the "Third Palestinian Intifada" page early Tuesday morning, reversing Monday's announcement that the site would be monitored but not closed.

The reversal appears to be in response to requests from Israel, the Anti-Defamation League and other pro-Israel activists to remove the page.

Nearly 1,500 Israelis were killed in the first and second intifadas - armed Palestinian uprisings - 1987-1991 and 2000-2004, respectively - in suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and other acts of terror against civilians.

Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein had appealed directly to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pointing out that the page features text and video clips calling for the murder of Jews and destruction of the State of Israel. Despite Edelstein's request, it appeared the page would stay. 

The Arabic-language site urged its followers to prepare for a third intifada -- based on the first and second intifadas -- to begin on May 15, the day the Palestinian Authority marks the 'Nakba' or 'catastrophe' of the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

"The march to Palestine [sic] will start in the neighboring countries of Palestine on May 15th. After our recent recognition we will be marching throughout all Islamic countries and Palestine will be liberated and free. Our goal is to reach millions of subscribers on this page before May. Rise up, publish this page everywhere, we are coming O Palestine," a translation of the site, provided by SITE Monitoring Service, reads.

"Copy the link, put it in your profile, and publish it with your pictures and videos and with all pages everywhere.

"After the intifada uprising of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, it is time for the Palestinian intifada. The first Palestinian uprising was in 1987 and was the second Palestinian intifada was the year 2000. The third Palestinian uprising will be decided soon on this page.

"The Palestinian cause is our cause. Publish this page on the sites, forums and elsewhere and invite all your friends to participate. If everyone is invited, all friends and Allah's will, we will reach more than 100,000 members a day," the site's administrators wrote.

Despite this clarion call to an armed uprising against Israel, Facebook executives insisted the site had not breached the boundaries of acceptable speech.

"While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone - criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example - that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion," Facebook spokeswoman Debbie Frost stated in an e-mail on Monday.

"We strongly believe that Facebook users have the ability to express their opinions and we don't typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities or ideas," Frost said.

The Anti-Defamation League also petitioned Facebook to remove the page.

"We are disappointed that Facebook has rejected our request to remove this site, which is in clear violation of their terms of service," ADL National Director Abe Foxman said in a press release.

"We are especially disappointed in this case because in the past there has often been understanding and sensitivity from Facebook when we have brought violations of its own rules to its attention. We urge Facebook to reconsider its decision and remove this site, which by its very title incites violence," Foxman said.

Political activist Pamela Geller, founder of Atlas Shrugs, called on her readers to protest the site.

"Last week I asked Atlas readers to report a Facebook page calling for another Islamic war against the Jews, a 'Palestinian' third intifada," Geller wrote on her website.

"Knowing what we know about the malevolent use of social networking by the global jihadists (witness the 'revolutions' across the Muslim world), starting a war against the Jews would be relatively easy in a population taught, urged, incited and commanded to annihilate the Jewish people," she said.

According to Facebook, the site had a following of more than 330,000 people and was growing at a rate of 25,000 every day.

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