SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Twitter has allowed the Twitter account of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyyeh to remain active while glorifying violence, despite former President Donald Trump’s account being “permanently suspended due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Ismail Haniyeh has been permitted to continue the use of Twitter as Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau and de facto head of the Gaza Strip to celebrate and encourage violence against Israel. Haniyeh has even published photographs of dead children he calls “Martyrs.”
The innocent Palestinian child Hamza Nassar 11y while he was on his way to buy vegetables to his family to eat it at Iftar time, he was hit by an Israeli rocket and died immediately. He was returned to his blind mother dead, Hamza is a martyr.#GazaUnderAttack #Save_Sheikh_Jarrah pic.twitter.com/kqM1BbDDGe
— إسماعيل هنيّة (@IsmailHaniyyeh) May 12, 2021
As violence between Israel and Palestine flared, Haniyeh posted on May 12 a photograph of a young boy allegedly killed in Gaza by an Israeli rocket. Haniyyeh wrote in the post:
“The innocent Palestinian child Hamza Nassar 11y while he was on his way to buy vegetables to his family to eat it at Iftar time, he was hit by an Israeli rocket and died immediately. He was returned to his blind mother dead; Hamza is a martyr.”
The Gaza leader also posted a tweet celebrating the bombing of an Israeli oil pipeline while attaching a photograph of the resulting conflagration. He wrote (translated):
“The bombing of Tel Aviv and the oil pipeline facility between Ashkelon and Eilat. God is great and glory is to God alone.”
They kicked Donald Trump off of Twitter. Meanwhile, the leader of Hamas is on this platform celebrating “the bombing of Tel Aviv.” pic.twitter.com/GSnoQwdIJr
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) May 11, 2021
Violence between Israel and the Palestinians escalated this week as riots and confrontations between Israeli Jews and Minority Arabs erupted in several Israeli towns.
The uncommon violence inside Israeli communities came as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, entered its fifth day.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the use of “a lot of force” to quell the violence. Yesterday, Israel announced the deployment of ground troops in an assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip after days of airstrikes aimed at the Palestinian militant group that has fired more than 1,500 rockets into Israel.
With violence threatening to reach the intensity of the 2014 Israeli occupation of Gaza, Haniyeh posted an inciting tweet expressing hope for greater violence against the Israeli state while mocking efforts by European mediators to end the bloodshed:
“European officials contacted us and demanded an end to the short-range missiles, otherwise they would not participate in the reconstruction of Gaza. We told them: God willing, we will stop our short-range missiles and use long-range missiles.”
The fact Twitter allows the leader of the Hamas terrorist group on the platform but bans so many conservatives is completely insane pic.twitter.com/aXURPC9nAM
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 12, 2021
The tweets expressing hope for increased violence and the celebration of children losing their lives have not resulted in any action or suspension from Twitter, and the account remains active.
In contrast, former President Donald Trump has had his Twitter access permanently banned because of supposed incitement of violence. In January, following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Twitter said in a statement:
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.
“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.
“However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.”
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Two tweets by the former president were singled out by Twitter as “inciting violence.” In one, he thanked voters who voted for him:
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape, or form!!!”
A second tweet singled out announced he would not be attending President Biden’s inauguration:
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Although neither of the tweets express a call for or support of violent acts, Twitter said it reviewed them in the context of events occurring at the time when making its decision to ban the president:
“Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regard to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.
“After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.”
In addition to allowing Palestinian leader Haniyeh to call for more violence against Israel, a U.S. ally, and celebrate the death of a child, the social media outlet has come under fire for permitting other hate speech to be broadcast from its site without suspension or removal.
The Twitter account of Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, has also been permitted to continue issuing anti- U.S. propaganda and calling for violence unabated by Twitter’s “Glorification of Violence policy.
Khamenei’s tweets have been so outlandish and dangerous, former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai highlighted some of them in a tweet calling out Twitter:
“Serious question for Twitter: Do these tweets from Supreme Leader of Iran @khamenei_ir violate ‘Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.’”
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPai) May 29, 2020
Twitter has not directly commented on the accounts. In a 2019 blog post, Twitter made a general comment about world leaders and what actions may result in enforcement action:
“We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely. The below areas will result in enforcement action for any account on our service (without consideration of the potential public interest value in allowing the Tweet to remain visible behind a notice):
Promotion of terrorism;
Clear and direct threats of violence against an individual (context matters: as noted above, direct interactions with fellow public figures and/or commentary on political and foreign policy issues would likely not result in enforcement);
Posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number;
Posting or sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent;
Engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and
Encouraging or promoting self-harm.”
In response to the permanent Twitter account ban, former President Trump recently unveiled his own social media platform to communicate with his supporters. The platform, For The Desk of Donald Trump, allows him to broadcast messages he would have previously sent out on Twitter.
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