The American newspaper, “Washington Post,” said that in order to circumvent the algorithms of social networking sites that combat Palestinian content, activists have resorted to using emojis of watermelon fruits whose colors bear the colors of the Palestinian flag.
The American newspaper dealt with the reason that prompted the Palestinians to use the watermelon emoji, how social media fight Palestinian content to prevent the truth from reaching the truth, and how activists have increased attempts to use several means to circumvent the algorithms of communication sites.
The newspaper pointed out that certain historical stages witnessed a ban on the Palestinian flag, which carries the colors “red, green, white and black” by the Israeli occupation, which angered them, and that it served for decades the symbols of the Palestinian struggle.
The newspaper pointed out that in recent weeks, the Palestinian watermelon, which intersects its colors with the colors of the flag, has witnessed a revival on communication sites, in a move that appears to be proactive to circumvent the censorship imposed on them.
She indicated that this was specifically during the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip and the events that preceded it in the city of Jerusalem, including the displacement of the Prime Time Zone of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the attack on worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the subsequent wave of massive popular struggle through the means of communication.
The “Washington Post” pointed out that the use of the watermelon symbol in the recent aggression, which began and ended last May, exceeded the limits of users in the Palestinian territories.
And she continued: “The idea of circulating it reached all users of the communication sites who are in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, inside and outside Palestine.”
Palestinian organizational tactics
The symbolism of the watermelon, according to the newspaper, goes back to the Palestinian organizational tactics before the first intifada, that is, the period prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority and launched the peace process that no longer exists.
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According to interviews conducted by the journalist with Palestinians, the artist Khaled al-Hourani, one of those who used pictures of watermelon remarkably on his Instagram page, considered that art can also play a role in political life.
Al-Hourani stressed the lack of confidence of the Palestinians in social media platforms that favor the Israeli narrative, and refuse in one way or another to show Palestinian content.
Over the past months, millions of unacceptably pro-Palestinian posts have been removed by Facebook and Twitter.
The company said that it was due to a “technical defect,” which angered the Palestinians, who felt the strength of their online discourse and the wide reach of advocates for the cause outside the Palestinian territories, according to the newspaper.
Over the past months, millions of unacceptably pro-Palestinian posts have been deleted by Facebook and Twitter.
While the company said that it was due to a technical glitch, which angered the Palestinians, who felt the strength of their rhetoric via the Internet and the wide reach of advocates for the cause outside the Palestinian territories.
The “Washington Post” said that “tags and accounts related to Palestinians have been banned or content has been removed. There is a new Palestinian generation, 70 percent of whom are under the age of thirty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where social media is the main source of their access to the world.”
She pointed out that Instagram, Facebook and other platforms reject accusations that they deliberately moderate, censor or neglect Palestinian content, or support their cause, and that they only ban posts that incite or glorify violence, among other systems.
The Washington Post published what it said was a message from Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, in which he said, “We know there are several issues that affected Prime Time Zone’s ability to participate on our apps, while we fixed them.”
He added: “This should have happened in the first place, and we are sorry for anyone who felt unable to draw attention to important events, or who felt this was a deliberate suppression of their voice.”
But many digital rights activists dismissed these explanations, saying it was “a long-standing trend that has recently escalated as Palestinians turn to social media to organize around the chain of events that has increasingly united Palestinians in the occupied interior, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the diaspora.”
In the weeks that followed the temporary ceasefire between the Palestinians and the occupation after the 11-day aggression on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian social media was ablaze with videos and infographics about the Israeli attacks on Palestinian properties that the occupation decided to demolish in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, in addition to attempts to build a settlement An Israeli occupation on the lands of the Palestinian village of Beita in the occupied West Bank, and the previous strike of Palestinians inside the occupied territories, all of this was material worthy of publication and circulation.
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The newspaper pointed out in its report that what distinguishes the Palestinian discourse through social media is that it is far from the control of the official political leadership, and that it is led by Palestinian youth only, but that the interaction of activists through these sites exceeded the limits of expressing Israeli violations to the extent of their use of political opposition, especially After the killing of political activist Nizar Banat.
Palestinians assure the Washington Post that the weapons that Palestinians use to resist the occupation or express their anger over internal issues has gone beyond the limits of the ruling authorities, reaching the limit of “words, pictures, and videos circulating on social platforms.”
What distinguishes the Palestinian discourse on social media is that it is far from the control of the official political leadership, and that it is led by Palestinian youth only
Mona Shtayyeh, director of local advocacy at Campaign Center in Haifa, the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, said that the Israeli authorities and social media companies are trying to silence Palestinians, by preventing them from sharing their stories and Israeli violations against them.
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