Hamas’s military wing faced a front of another kind last week: a cyber war.
The accounts: @AlqassamBrigade, @qassambrigades, @qassambrigade, and @qasambrigade – all twitter handles for the media machine behind Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades.
Blaming the development on “Christians” and “Zionists,” Hamas’s page supervisor described Twitter’s policy as “unprofessional,” blaming the social networking platform for allowing the IDF twitter account to remain online, “despite the terrorism practiced by the [Israeli] occupation against the Palestinian people from siege and killing,” according to a translation by Al-Arabiya English.
The group’s official website also lashed out at Israel and the US.
“The Qassam Brigades confirmed that they did not violate Twitter’s terms of service ever, asserting that reason behind the suspension is Twitter subordination to U.S. government and ‘Israel’ as usual,” the terror group’s statement said. “The Qassam Brigades strongly condemn the act and assert on right to freedom of speech and expression and media.”
In the meantime, Yisrael HaYom reported that the development was less of a pro-Israel effort, and more the result of numerous user complaints. Twitter’s policies allow users to suggest suspension of accounts with offensive posts, and the Israeli daily theorizes that the culmination of user complaints over time led to the accounts’ suspension.
The IDF’s official blog noted Tuesday that the terror group explicitly violates Twitter’s terms of service, which state, “you may use the Services only if you … are not a person barred from receiving services under the laws of the United States.” The blog notes that Hamas has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under US law – thus effectively “barring it from receiving services” from the US.
Twitter’s ban on Hamas has been a long time coming, after lawmakers called on the social media service to suspend the terror organization’s accounts as far back as November 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense. A campaign to have the terror organization’s handles removed was launched both by US lawmakers and the group Christians United for Israel (CUFI) – who also cited Hamas as violating Twitter’s terms of service in the campaign.
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