State Dept Denies Lobbying Facebook to Reinstate Palestinian Gov't Facebook Account

Account accused of promoting terrorism, anti-Israel material

A Palestinian boy poses with a toy gun as supporters of the Fatah movement take part in a rally in Gaza City / Getty Images
March 20, 2017

The State Department is denying accusations by Palestinian officials that it directly intervened with Facebook to reinstate the Fatah political party's official account, which was shut down about a month ago promoting terrorism and disseminating anti-Israel materials.

A State Department official who spoke to the Free Beacon "firmly" denied the accusations, maintaining there was no attempt to intervene on the Palestinian political party's behalf.

Fatah's official Facebook page was removed a month ago, but reappeared on the social media site a day later. Palestinian government officials later claimed that the U.S. Embassy directly intervened to ensure the Facebook page was reactivated.

"I contacted the international media, and then I received a call from the American embassy, which got involved and resolved the problem with the Facebook administration, and the page returned to action on Monday evening, Feb. 27, and they apologized and explained that what happened was a mistake," said Munir Radi Al-Jaghoub, head of Fatah's Commission of Mobilization and Organization, according to information provided by Palestinian Media Watch, a group that monitors regional media.

Palestinian Media Watch has "documented hundreds of posts by Fatah glorifying violence and terror, and praising murderers," according to a press statement issued by the group.

"A suicide bomber who murdered 11 and a sniper who shot and killed 10 have been glorified by Fatah in such posts, some of which appeared on Fatah's Twitter account," according to the group.

Fatah has published other posts praising the murder of Taylor Force, an American citizen. In early March, congressional Republicans introduced legislation bearing Force's name to cut off all U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority.