76 days without any food? That is what Bilal Thayb and Thaer Halahleh are going through. This is followed by approximately 1600 others since April 17th; a third of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Their protest centred on demands for more family visits, an end to solitary confinement and an end to “administrative detention” (to be held indefinitely without charge).
During the strike there was already a huge social media echo especially on Twitter and Facebook with users spreading the information and demanding additional support. The final storm of attention and action within the Arab social media sphere rolled over on May 14th with the announcement of the Egyptian-brokered agreement between prisoners and Israel. Thereby an end of the mass hunger strike was aimed in exchange to end solitary confinement for 19 prisoners and the opportunity for the prisoners to receive visits from their relatives lining in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Moreover Israel agreed to also improve other conditions of detention by letting “administrative detainees” free once they completed their sentence.
On the other hand, posts on Twitter denied the end of the hunger strike. At this stage of information, Thaer Halaheleh and Bilal Thayeb shall be released within the next month and will stop to refuse food as soon as they see their documents with their release order.
As regards to all other prisoners, we will see what happens in the next few days and weeks, but for now it is time for the SocialEyez Social Media Buzz for the last few days.
For this Buzz-Report we took a closer look at the user reactions in Palestine, published on Facebook and Twitter. Due to the different usage, the result depiction of 1779 analyzed posts is divided between Twitter and Facebook.
Thereby 70% of the analyzed comments were from Twitter, mostly related to the Hashtags “PalHunger”, “ThaerHaleleh” and “BilalDiab”, whereas the remaining 30% came from Facebook with the major buzz from the Facebook pages “Halada” and “Q.N.N”.
The analysis of the 1252 tweets/retweets showed that:
- One fourth of all comments posted updates on the hunger strike and the recent developments, mostly attached with objective sources.
- One third of all comments actually provided real time updates and personal experiences on the protests and demonstrations organized in solidarity to spread awareness about the hunger strike.
- 14% of the tweets supported the prisoners by expressing respect and reverence for them and treating them like heroes. This was complemented by 2% of posts, which expressed gratitude for all international activists that took part in the protests and demonstrations across Europe. Special Information about the critical condition of Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahleh were given by 12%, while 19% shared pictures and cartoons pertaining to the hunger strike like the campaign on Facebook.
- The remaining 1% underlined the role of Khader Adnan in sparking a revolution inside Israeli prisons.
The majority of the Facebook users who commented on the hunger strike, involved “God” by praying and supporting the prisoners, in the hope of being s released and returned back to their families (60%). Around one tenth of the analyzed comments criticized Arab leaders for not getting involved in this topic and not supporting the Palestinian prisoners, while 4% brought the issue on a higher level by highlighting the importance for the Palestinian set of problems and casting the prisoners’ as heroes that have restored hope. However, 3% claimed, that a protest on Facebook is not enough and called for mobilization and action offline as well.
The remaining 25% took part in the picture campaign to spread awareness about the hunger strike. This social media activism snowballed on May 14, when Millions of Facebook users changed their profile pictures to a generic illustration of a faceless Palestinian prisoner dressed in the typical Israeli prison brown uniform stamped with the acronym of the Israeli Prison System (IPS), Shabas.
The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that dominate current discussions on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted about the Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike and the search was done manually on Facebook and Twitter. The mentioned posts and comments were captured in both English and Arabic on May 13th and 14th in Palestine.
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For the Arabic version of the above report, please click below: