Facebook is being hit with a $1 billion lawsuit after allegedly allowing the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas to use its platform to plot attacks in Israel and the West Bank that killed and wounded Americans. According to Bloomberg News: “Plaintiffs include the families of Yaakov Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old abducted and murdered in June 2014 after hitching a ride in the West Bank, and 3-year-old Chaya Braun, whose stroller was struck intentionally by a Palestinian driver in October 2014 at a train station in Jerusalem.”
“Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social network platform and communication services,” making it liable for the violence against the five Americans, according to the lawsuit sent to Bloomberg by the office of the Israeli lawyer on the case, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
“Simply put, Hamas uses Facebook as a tool for engaging in terrorism,” it said.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., European Union and Israel. The suit said the group used Facebook to share operational and tactical information with members and followers, posting notices of upcoming demonstrations, road closures, Israeli military actions and instructions to operatives to carry out the attacks.
Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas leader, said by phone that “suing Facebook clearly shows the American policy of fighting freedom of the press and expression” and is evidence of U.S. prejudice against the group and “its just cause.”
It’s not at all clear that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — an influential Obama ally — would disagree with al-Masri. It’s not clear that the president would either.
While Hamas has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State since 1997, President Obama and his national security team seem to have a far more favorable view of them. Rather than reject the Hamas and the Palestinian Authority unity government that was formed in 2014, the Obama administration continued to fund it to the tune of $500 million a year.
This alarmed American lawmakers so much, 88 senators from across party lines sent a message of “grave concern” to the White House, warning that the new PA unity effort might jeopardize direct negotiations with Israel. “Any assistance should only be provided when we have confidence that this new government is in full compliance with the restrictions contained in current law,” the letter read.
Hamas, in the meantime, remains true to its charter — which calls for the total destruction of Israel. Earlier this year, they were caught renovating one of their many tunnels that are used to infiltrate Israel and carry out terror attacks. According to the Gatestone Institute, the renovation went very badly for them: “seven members of Hamas’s armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, were killed when the tunnel they were working in collapsed.”
Hamas makes no secret of the goal of its renovations. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar readily admits that the tunnels are being rebuilt to target Israel.
Indeed, clarity seems to be the name of the game with Hamas. Senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayeh explained that his organization would continue to dig tunnels for use in future confrontations with Israel. “We have enough mujahideen [jihad warriors] to replace their brothers who were martyred [in the tunnel collapse],” he said during the funeral of the seven Hamas members.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh went a step further: the tunnels were not only designed to launch terror attacks against Israelis, but to “liberate all of Palestine.” In the words of Haniyeh, the tunnels are being dug not only to “defend the Gaza Strip, but to serve as a launching pad to reach all of Palestine.” As one can see from any map of Palestine, “all of Palestine” does not mean living in peace alongside Israel; it means supplanting Israel.