An article published last month in one of Israel’s leading newspapers, Haaretz, shed light on how the Israel Security Agency (ISA) is using Facebook to combat Palestinian resistance groups in the Palestinian occupied territories.
According to the article’s author, Amira Hess, the ISA operates about 35 Arabic-language profile pages on Facebook, which are accessible in the various Palestinian areas under Israeli occupation.
ISA case officers (agent handlers) with Arabic monikers are in charge of various regions. For example, the officer in charge of the Hebron (al-Khalil) area is known as “Captain Eid”, the officer in charge of the Al-Amari refugee camp is known as “Captain Zaker”, and so on. Every Facebook profile page has a telephone number for users to send messages using WhatsApp. In addition, a general Facebook page of the ISA was opened under the heading in Arabic, “Badna Naish” (“Want to Live” in Arabic).
The transition to using Facebook pages is in the spirit of the times, and reflects the fact that many younger Palestinians receive their daily news through social networks, and not through traditional media, such as radio or television. The purpose of the ISA’s open-referral method using Facebook is to talk to the Palestinian population directly, and especially to the younger generation, who is very active on social networks.
Additionally, the ISA uses Facebook’s pages to warn Palestinians who plan martyrdom-seeking acts before they go into action.
The ISA also combines the increased use of social networks with telephone warnings, especially in the Gaza Strip, where its activities are more limited due to the tight control of the Hamas movement. Residents of the Gaza Strip receive phone calls from Israeli ISA officers warning them not to help Hamas movement against Israel. According to sources in the Gaza Strip, during the “Return March” project, the ISA issued warnings on social media to the younger Palestinian population about participating in demonstrations on the border fence, or in attempts to infiltrate the occupied territories of Palestine