Hamas Gaza warns: Don't visit Israeli Foreign Ministry webpage

Hamas internal security agency warns Foreign Ministry Arabic Facebook contains intelligence surveillance that could harm Palestinian surfers

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Mordechai Sones,

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Security breach

On Wednesday Hamas's internal security agency in Gaza warned surfers against viewing the Israeli Foreign Ministry Arabic Facebook account.

According to the agency, the Facebook page contains new ways in which Israeli intelligence recruits and operates civilians. One method mentioned is referring to sites on different communication platforms that were created for that purpose.

"The methods include the use of an international number that actually directs the caller or surfer to be tracked by Israel's intelligence services," the agency said.

"A new way for Israeli intelligence is to use official pages, such as that of the Foreign Ministry. When you like a page, the internet activity of the Palestinian surfer is followed."

This statement joins a series of publications in the Arab world calling for refraining from following Israel's official Arabic pages on social networks, including the pages of the Prime Minister's Spokesman, the IDF Spokesman and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, claiming that they are a means for recruiting agents, poisoning young Arab minds, and serving as a "trap for normalization".

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A few months ago, supporters of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who has great influence in the Arab world, to issue a fatwa against Israel's Foreign Ministry page.

Yonatan Gonen, head of the Arabic division of the Department of Digital Diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, said that "the repeated calls we hear every week to avoid surfing our pages only underscore the power that social networks have today in transmitting messages to target audiences. Of course we are not trying to recruit any agents, but only to brand and present Israel as it really is."