Hamas has issued a statement instructing Gazans to avoid following an Israeli state-run Facebook page called “Israel Speaks Arabic,” claiming that Israel is attempting to “bring down the residents” through social media.

Hamas in Gaza

Hamas in Gaza Photo Credit: Hamas Twitter account/Israel News Company

Hamas fears that Israel is attempting to influence Gaza’s residents through social media. The terror organization issued a statement warning against viewing or “liking” the Facebook page called “Israel Speaks Arabic,” which is run by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. “It places the Gazan citizen within the target circle of the occupation,” Hamas said.

The Israeli Facebook page proved very popular with the Arab speaking world, with over 1.5 million followers. It received over 166 million content views in 2017. Hamas’ warning against the page is part of a series of security directives issued by its interior agency, which aim to caution citizens against “the new ways” Israel is attempting to “bring down the residents.”

Hamas’ declaration joins several other warnings from within the Arab world against following official Israeli social media pages, including those run by the Israeli prime minister’s spokesperson and the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. They claim that the pages were being used to enlist informants and are poisoning young Arab minds.

Yonatan Gonen, head of the Arabic branch in the Department of Digital Diplomacy at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, explained that the repeated warnings only emphasized the power social media has in relaying messages to target audiences. Gonen stressed that the purpose of the pages is only to present Israel as it is and not for any other reason, such as enlisting informants.