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Knesset Gives First Nod to So-called Facebook Bill That Would Allow Court to Censor Internet

If passed into law, legislation would permit court to order social networks to remove content that incites to violence from their sites.
A bill that would give the courts power to block internet content that incites violence received first support by Israeli lawmakers on Tuesday.
The so-called Facebook bill, proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, was approved Tuesday during a first reading in the Knesset plenum, by a majority of 36 to 2.
The draft legislation says that the Administrative Affairs Court will be allowed, at the request of the government, to issue an order instructing social networking companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove inflammatory content from their sites.
Inflammatory content is defined as presenting a real danger to an individual, the public or the state, and constituting a criminal offense.
The bill will now be brought back to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for preparation prior to a second and third reading by the Knesset.
Shaked and Erdan welcomed the results of the first vote. Said Shaked, “I’m happy to continue to promote a law of such great importance in the battle against incitement on the social networks, incitement whose results are destructive and dangerous."
Cooperation with these networks, she added, "will help to reduce the inflammatory material that is posted on a daily basis, and will convey a clear social message that we won’t be tolerant of calls for violence, even if they’re written on a keyboard and appear ‘only’ on screens. Because a single word can turn life into death.”
For his part, Erdan commented that, “Despite the fact that incitement leads to terror, Facebook and other content suppliers on the internet do not accede to police requests to remove content that incites [to violence], and sometimes it takes a long time until this content is removed. Therefore, the new law is necessary in order to give us the tools to act immediately to remove content that is liable to lead to acts of terror and murder.”
On Monday, the Knesset Science and Technology Committee held a discussion about the annual report of the Israel Internet Association, in which the executive director, attorney Yoram Hacohen, spoke about the problematic nature of the proposed legislation.
“Incitement to terror on the social networks is a real problem and solutions must be found – but we don’t think that these are legislative solutions," said Hacohen. "This proposal doesn’t apply only to incitement to terror on the social networks, but relates to a far broader issue. We’re afraid that it will lead to blatant and extensive intervention against the freedom of expression. We are concerned that internet legislation will distort the neutrality of and the manner of thinking on the internet.”

Refaella Goichman

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.762811

Schermata 2017 01 04 alle 22.28.43

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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