From The Intercept:
On the morning of August 28, 2014, two days after the end of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Sohaib Zahda hopped into a shared taxi in Hebron that was going to Ramallah, where he had a job interview.
Thirty-three-year-old Zahda, who owns a paintball company, is an unlikely terrorist. An avid cyclist who speaks Arabic, Italian, French, and English, he is a member of Youth Against Settlements, a nonviolent organization that protests against Israeli settlers who live in and around Hebron. He is opposed to Hamas firing rockets into Israel. He likes to tell visitors his grandfather had Jewish friends in Hebron in the 1920s.
Hebron and Ramallah are about 25 miles apart. To get between them, Palestinians must pass through the “container checkpoint,” manned by Israeli soldiers on a road that connects the southern West Bank to its central and northern cities. At the checkpoint — named for a shipping container once located at the barrier — Palestinian pedestrians queue up to get their IDs checked, while cars wait for inspection and for soldiers to wave them through. When Zahda’s taxi drove up, masked Israeli soldiers stopped the vehicle, asked him to get out, and then handcuffed him.
They took his mobile phone and his bag and brought him to a room near the checkpoint. After two hours, he was told he was being investigated for threatening an Israeli army leader. The alleged threat was made on a Facebook page calling for an uprising in Hebron. Zahda was then blindfolded and placed in an Israeli military jeep.
Facebook has not changed the fundamental contours of the conflict, but it has accelerated it.
The soldiers took Zahda to a counterterror unit of the Israeli police, which held him for the crime of incitement to violence. At one point during Zahda’s interrogation, the police showed him content they had collected from his personal Facebook page. But Zahda wrote Facebook posts from the West Bank, an area governed not by Israeli civilian law but by Israeli military law. The police had no jurisdiction over Zahda, said Nery Ramati, his attorney. Instead of releasing him, the police transferred Zahda to an Israeli military prison. When asked about his arrest and interrogation, the Israeli army responded, “Because Mr. Zahda’s case is still open, we are unable to elaborate on any specific details.” The Israeli police did not respond to detailed requests about the interrogation.
Zahda’s case, still ongoing, is part of a new battleground in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians using social media to spread news about arrests and deaths, and Israeli intelligence and law enforcement officers scouring the web for clues about the next stabbing or protest.
Facebook has not changed the fundamental contours of the conflict, but it has accelerated it. A demonstration against the Israeli occupation can be organized in a matter of hours, while the monitoring of Palestinians is made easier by the large digital footprint they leave on their laptops and mobile phones.
Israeli officials have blamed social media for inciting a…