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In the first half of 2021, 7amleh continued to conduct research into digital rights issues facing Palestinians, advocate to authorities and technology companies, build the capacity of Palestinians to advocate and protect their rights online through digital training and awareness raising activities including the Palestine Digital Activism Forum.

7amleh in numbers first half of 2021:
Publications 5
People trained 4,662
Video views 911,323
Engagement on Social Media 243,060
Webinar and conference participation 20
Media Mentions and Interviews 290
Reports to Palestinian Digital Rights Observatory 751


Mapping Digital Rights in the Middle East and North Africa Region

In March 7amleh in cooperation with Innovation for Change Middle East and North Africa (I4C MENA) published the research “Mapping Digital Rights in the Middle East and North Africa Region” analyzing the status of digital rights in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia as a basis for joint advocacy. The research found that the legislative frameworks in these countries for digital rights are ill-equipped to protect digital rights and in contrast are at times employed to violate rights.

Hashtag Palestine 2020

In April 7amleh published "Hashtag Palestine 2020" an annual publication that gives an overview of digital rights violations by authorities and corporations throughout the year. In particular, Hashtag Palestine 2020 focused on how the coronavirus pandemic has increased Palestinian digital rights violations. Additionally, Hasthag Palestine 2020 featured a small survey of Palestinian human rights organizations that found that almost half of them had been smeared online.

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Monitoring & Documentation

Media Monitoring

Throughout the first half of 2021 7amleh continued monitoring the media about Palestinian digital rights. On a weekly basis 7amleh shared the most important Palestinian digital rights news with the public through our Digital Rights Weekly Updates.7amleh also analyzed the results from 2020 and found that the majority of articles published about Palestinian digital rights covered issues of censorship and surveillance technologies, with few articles about gender based violence online and data protection.

Index of Racism and Incitement 2020

In March 7amleh published the ”Index of Racism and Incitement 2020” , an annual publication that analyses Hebrew content inciting and advocating for violence against Palestinians in public social media pages. According to the research, 2020 saw a 16% increase in violent speech against Arabs and Palestinians, with one of every 10 posts including incitement against Arabs, and the coronavirus pandemic caused a 21% increase in racist discourse.

Reporting on the Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights

In May 7amleh documented over 668 reports of censorship and incitement on social media from the public. These reports were submitted to social media companies that 7amleh has partnerships with including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp as well as Telegram. A summary of the reports and the responses of the technology companies were published in the report “The Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights” ,which covered the period between 6-19 May, when there was an increase in online and offline violence in Palestine due to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and efforts to forcibly displace thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

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Incitement on the Internet - May 2021

In May 7amleh conducted research into Israeli incitement to violence against Palestiinians online. This research was developed using the same methodology as used in the “Index of Racism and Incitement.” During May 6 - 21 the research showed a 15-fold increase in violent speech compared to the same period of time last year.


Palestinian Authority

During the first half of 2021 7amleh continued to advocate for digital rights to be upheld by the Palestinian Authority.

In April, as part of the Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition (PDRC), 7amleh condemned the Palestinian Preventive Security Service's involvement in privacy-infiltration activities as well as targeting journalists, people opposed to the government, activists, human rights defenders and other groups on Facebook and other platforms.

In May 7amleh supported the participation of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, in the first meeting between the Prime Minister’s Office and Facebook. 7amleh also met with the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology to coordinate efforts and to ensure the participation of civil society organizations in policy development and review processes of the Palestinian government.

In June 7amleh was selected to be part of the newly established Palestinian National Digital Rights Committee, which was initiated by the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology. The committee consists of representatives from the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and many other Palestinian ministries.

In June 7amleh participated in a coordination meeting between various civil society organizations and the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 7amleh contributed by sharing its work on Palestinian digital rights.

International Bodies
United Nations

Submissions on Disinformation and Fake News

Together with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) 7amleh submitted a statement with APC to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression about disinformation and fake-news, and called on the United Nations to condemn the spreading of disinformation and fake news by authorities.

Submission to United Nations Human Rights Council

7amleh submitted a statement with APC to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the violation of Palestinian digital rigths, highlighting the findings of dramatic increase in digital rights violations in May 2021 during Israel’s aggression on the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.

European Union

Parliamentary Question to the European Union

In May 7amleh submitted a parliamentary question to the EU noting that social media companies, Facebook Instagram and Twitter admitted to blocking accounts that posted pro-Palestinian content and deleted posts related. 7amleh further brings to attention the over 600 documented cases of censorship between the 6th and 19st of May showing that these were not isolated cases, but a deliberate effort on the part of social media companies working with Israeli authorities.

Digital Service Act Working Group

In June 7amleh joined a working group on the Digital Service Act, initiated by Access Now, with a number of civil society organizations and are working to ensure that freedom of expression will be protected with this new legislation.

Legislators on Automated Terrorist Content Censorship Online

In April, 7amleh submitted a letter to the Members of the European Parliament jointly with 69 human rights and media organizations, urging them to reject the new EU Online Terrorist Content Law. The letter highlights how the use of automated tools to remove ‘terrorist content’ will not be able to sufficiently differentiate between terrorist content and educational and news materials as well as documentation of human rights violations, and thus will endanger freedom of expression and speech.

Technology Companies

Policy Development

7amleh has continued to participate in Facebook’s ‘Trusted Partner’ program and to contribute to the development and evaluation of Facebook policies. This included policies about peaceful protests, focusing on how violence at public protests is moderated; a policy discussion on LGBTQ+, discussing whether products such as rainbow backgrounds, smileys etc. should be available globally; and participated in a roundtable on brigading and mass harassment.

International Campaign

In June 7amleh joined a working group on the Digital Service Act, initiated by Access Now, with a number of civil society organizations and are working to ensure that freedom of expression will be protected with this new legislation.

Response to Increase of Censorship

In May, 7amleh published a statement with the MENA Content Moderation Coalition sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg the Facebook CEO, held a meeting with Facebook Executives, jointly called on Facebook to stop the censorship of Palestinian content.

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Twitter and 7amleh Partnership Established

In June 2021 7amleh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Twitter becoming a member of its Trust and Safety Council, and in particular the Human and Digital Rights Advisory Group. As a member, 7amleh is advising Twitter on the impact of their policies on human and digital rights, and advocating for adherence to digital rights


Google Maps Blurs the Gaza Strip

During the latest Israeli attack on Gaza in May 2021, GoogleMaps showed Gaza territories out of focus and unclear. Therefore, the impact of Israeli bombardment and the large-scale destruction caused by it, could not be documented by human rights defenders through the mapping tool. As part of this, 7amleh together with Kairos Palestine launched a petition to urge Google to update their maps.

Racism in Google Search

7amleh wrote to Google aout how its search for "what do terrorists wear on their head" returns as the first result the Palestinian kaffiyeh, a traditional headdress.

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Incitement to Violence Against Palestinians

7amleh submitted cases of incitement to Telegram through the Tech Against Terrorism platform and successfully had several groups that were organizing violence against Palestinians and Arabs closed down.


Palestinian Organizations Deplatformed

7amleh continued to campaign for PayPal to provide Palestinians with access to their platform and to respect their right to non-discrimination and to access the digital economy. This included working together with 22 human and digital rights organizations, to submit a letter to PayPal and Venmo reprimanding their policy of closing and freezing accounts in a discriminatory manner.


Palestinians Denied Access

7amleh submitted a letter to Stripe asking the company to open access to Palestinians. The request was rejected by Stripe in a letter where the company stated that, “While it sounds great, unfortunately we're going to have to pass. As a growing company, we are simply unable to participate in all the great opportunities that come our way.” However, the company did not share why or how they came to their decision to not provide Palestinians access to their platform.

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Capacity Building

Awareness Raising
Digital Security Campaign for Palestinian Youth

In response to a need for digital security content aimed specifically at Palestinian youth in Arabic, 7amleh published a social media campaign with ten videos. The videos covered diverse digital security issues such as two-factor authentication, safe browsing, and focused specifically on practical tips and recommendations and reached more than 420,000 video views. The whole series in Arabic is available on Youtube.

Parenting in the Digital World Campaign

In May 7amelh released a digital security campaign for parents titled, “Parenting in the Digital World” to raise awareness and educate parents on how to ensure their children are digitally safe. The campaign featured a series of videos in Arabic keeping parents up to date with the developments in the digital world and how to keep their children safe online

Study Day - Digital Safety for Children and Youth in Jerusalem

Based on its 2020 needs assessment “Digital Safety Among Jerusalemite Children & Youth” ,which analysed the needs and capacities of East Jerusalemite children and youth’s regarding digital safety, 7amleh held the study day “Digital Safety for Children and Youth in Jerusalem”. The study day brought together experts to discuss experiences, best practices and a way forward for digital rights education in Jerusalem.

Digital Security & Digital Campaigning

Due to the ongoing public health considerations due to the coronavirus pandemic, 7amleh adapted their training to be delivered online in order to meet the increasing need for digital security workshops. Where the situation permitted, 7amleh held workshops in person taking into account the necessary public health precautions. In total, 4662 Palestininans were trained in digital security, digital activism, digital campaigns and Palestinian digital rights. 70% of the participants were females and 3817 received special trainings in digital and cyber security.

Palestine Digital Activism Forum

7amleh’s 5th annual Palestine Digital Activism Forum (PDAF) 2021 ,focusing on digital rights during and after the coronavirus pandemic, had 1600 attendees from 70 countries over the course of 4 days, more than double than the previous year. This included 2 panels with authorities and decision makers from corporations and 4 workshops with experts in the human rights and digital rights fields, as well as four inspirational speeches with public figures such as the Palestinian comedian Amer Zahr, and Palestine’s youngest journalist Janna Jihad. More than 400,000 people watched the live-feeds on social media.

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7amleh in the Media

Mainstream Media

7amleh’s work was covered more than 290 times, such as by the Los Angeles Times, TIME, the Guardian, NBC News, Reuters and The Independent among other local and regional outlets in the past half year.

Social Media

7amleh’s social media reach and engagement continued to grow over the past six months. This includes significant increases in the numbers of followers on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok and increases in the reach and engagement of content. On Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and TikTok follower numbers more than doubled since the end of 2020. In the first half of 2021, 7amleh’s social media posts engaged almost 1,000,000 people and reached almost 250,000 video views.

Conference and Webinar Participation

In April 7amleh participated in a webinar on fake news and disinformation in MENA organized by UNESCO headquarters, a closed webinar on cyber laws organized by IM, the webinar “Suppression of Palestinian content: technical errors or systematic silencing?” organized by Jordan Open SourceAssociation (JOSA), and a closed webinar with a French Solidarity group.

In May 7amleh participated in the annual “Stockholm Internet Forum: Promoting Peace in the Age of Compound Risk” 2021 for the fourth time. This included speaking at “Using Social Media to Build Peace and Inclusivity and to Counter Hate Speech”, “Digital Space - The New Frontier of Civic Space” and “Back to Basics: How to Establish Human Rights Centric Platform Governance Where Users Come First.”

In May 7amleh also held a live Facebook discussion “Digital Activity and Security in Light of the Israeli Aggression on the Palestinian People” (in Arabic) on digital activism in Arabic and the “Palestinian Narrative: Censorship and Creativity in Time of Crisis” in English, and participated in the Webinar “What’s the Future for Palestine” by openDemocracy, a Twitter Spaces Talk with journalist Samar Jarrah, an AlJazeera Live discussion on bias against Palestinian content on social media.

In June 7amleh participated in the Women Affairs Technical Committee conference “Feminist Discourse in Digital Media,” the Middle East Institute’s webinar “Digital Occupation: The Implications of Media Moderation in Palestine,” Palestine Deep Dive webinar “Israel’s War on the Media,” Al Jazeera Institute Forum “Journalism Ethics in the Digital Age Forum”, and a Facebook live session of the Norwegian Solidarity Campaign.

7amleh also participated in the 10th RightsCon and organized the following events: “Free speech gatekeepers in the Middle East: automation, content moderation, and the power to delete,” “Disinformation, Deplatforming & Human Rights Defenders: Developing Corrective Guidelines for Financial Services Companies” and “Algorithmic discrimination and its impacts on social mobility of marginalized social groups in Global South.”

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