ISRAEL: Facebook face-off


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As fellow blogger Borzou Daragahi has already noted, Facebook is huge in Lebanon. The social networking site has already become a major force in Lebanese politics and society.

Now Facebook has been drawn into the black hole-like gravitational pull of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Palestinian members in the West Bank were recently outraged to discover their hometown in their Facebook biographies had been changed from Palestine to Israel. After a brief outcry, the change was reversed. But now Israeli residents in settlements throughout the West Bank are outraged that THEIR hometown has been changed from Israel to Palestine.

The conflict spills over into Facebook’s groups section as well. The “Palestine is a country!” group has over 1,900 members while “It’s not ‘Palestine’ It’s ‘Israel!” has more than 13,000.

Controversy sprung up again last week when a Facebook group honoring Alaa Abu Dheim, the Palestinian gunman who killed eight religious students in Jerusalem on March 6. That group currently has 79 members, while a pair of groups urging that the Abu Dheim group be deleted have 272.

— Ashraf Khalil in Jerusalem