Palestinian Citizens in Israel Face Increased Scrutiny and Arrests Following Social Media Posts After October 7 Attacks



In the wake of the October 7th Hamas attacks on Israel, the Palestinian community within the country reports a surge in arrests related to social media posts. Many Palestinian citizens, including students and prominent figures, have been arrested and faced consequences for online content, including simple emojis or phrases, that some have interpreted as incitement. Despite claims of protecting free speech, these events have raised concerns about silencing and intimidation within the Arab minority in Israel. The situation has created a chilling effect, with the community feeling a heightened scrutiny over their loyalty and identity.

  • A Palestinian student faced arrest and university sanctions over an Instagram story with a Palestinian flag emoji captioned with “victory shakshuka,” which was interpreted as support for Hamas.
  • Adalah, an advocacy group for Israel’s Arab minority, has noted a significant increase in similar cases since October 7th, claiming these arrests are a form of repression to silence Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • The Israeli police assert commitment to freedom of speech but also stress the need to counter incitement of violence, particularly during conflict with terrorist organizations.
  • Palestinian Israelis report feeling their loyalties are being questioned in unprecedented ways, impacting their daily lives and exacerbating tensions in mixed communities.
  • A well-known Palestinian folk singer was arrested for posting a Palestinian flag emoji, leading to demonstrations outside her home and a broader feeling of harassment among Palestinian Israelis.
  • While no official numbers on arrests have been provided by Israeli police, rights groups estimate them to be in the hundreds, with Adalah representing approximately 90 students from 34 colleges and universities arrested after October 7th.
  • The response from the Palestinian Israeli community towards the October 7th attacks and the subsequent war on Gaza is complex, given their dual identity as Palestinian Arabs and Israeli citizens.
  • The arrests and their consequences have created a chilling effect on free expression within the Palestinian Israeli community, even in cases where no law has been broken.

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