| Summary |
In the first half of 2022, 7amleh is continuing to raise the capacity of Palestinian civil society, activists and human rights organizations, to raise awareness on digital rights, and to advocate for Palestinian digital rights locally, regionally and internationally in order to achieve a free, fair and secure digital space. 7amleh has also successfully launched the sixth edition of the Palestine Digital Activism Forum (PDAF) with more than 1300 live attendants and more than 300.000 viewers throughout social media. And trained more than 600 individuals on digital rights issues, including 11 trainers of digital security, as well as 20 organizations. Furthermore, a total of 151 pieces of online content that had been removed from social media platforms was reinstated so far through 7amleh’s efforts.
| 7amleh in Numbers |
Video views on social media:
Engagement on Social Media:
687 (58% women / 42% men)
Organizations’ needs assessed and trained on digital security:
Trainers trained on digital security:
Palestine Digital Activism Forum attendees:
Reports of Digital Rights Violations to Palestinian Digital Rights Observatory 7or:
Positive responses by social media companies
Engagements in conferences and webinar:
| Research |
Attitudes on Privacy and Data Protection
The “Survey of Attitudes towards Privacy and Data Protection in the Palestinian Context” analyzes and illustrates the awareness and understanding of privacy and data protection of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories. The survey showed that more than half, 52% of the respondents, feel that their data is not sufficiently protected, and 69% support a privacy and data protection legislation. The social media campaign included a video in Arabic.
Privacy & Personal Data in Palestine
The journalistic report “Privacy & Personal Data in Palestine: Double Violations and Absence of Legislation” examines the status of, as well as challenges to, privacy and personal data in Palestine by the Palestinian Authority as well as internet service providers, electronic payment companies, and telecommunications companies.
Legal Analysis for the Bill for Preventing Incitement on Social Media
The position paper “What is the ‘Facebook Bill’? More Restrictions on Palestinian Content” analyses the impact of the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislations’ approval of the bill for ‘Preventing Incitement on Social Media’, which seeks to regulare government involvement in removing content or restricting access to content on online platforms. 7amleh objects to this bill as it paves the way for increasing Israeli governmental censorship, particularly of Palestinian content.
Needs Assessment of Palestinian Youth Digital Activity
The “Needs Assessment of Palestinian Youth Digital Activity: Challenges and Needs” analyses the knowledge and skills of Palestinian Youth in the digital space, including on digital security, hate speech, gender based violence online, and the reporting of digital rights violations; as well as the challenges and need to increase the space for a safe, free and fair online space for Palestinian youth.
Index of Racism and Incitement 2021
The annual analysis of racism and incitement against Arabs and Palestinians in Israeli social media, the “Index of Racism and Incitement 2021”, showed an increase of racism and incitement of 8% in comparison to 2020 with 620,000 inciting and racist conversations. With this increase, 11% of overall online conversations are racist and inciting in their nature. The majority of these posts were shared through Twitter.
Hashtag Palestine 2021
7amleh’s annual analysis of the digital rights situation in Palestine, “Hashtag Palestine 2021” revealed more than 1000 digital rights violations of Palestinians and their supporters throughout 2022. Violations by governmental actors, in specific the Israeli authorities are ongoing and escalating, and censorship on social media platforms is continuing, and increased during the political developments of May 2021.
| Monitoring of Digital Rights Violations |
Digital Rights Violations Reports
Based on the data collected through the database and it’s precursor, 7amleh has been publishing regular reports on the violations of Palestinian digital rights including weekly updates, monthly updates, quarterly reports and annual reports. Additionally, 7amleh follows up on the reports of digital rights violations with social media companies: Regular quarterly reports on digital rights violations were published for the periods of January to March, and April to June. 7amleh publishes 3 quarterly reports each year, the reports provide an analysis of the data collected to show patterns of digital rights violations. At the end of the year, an annual report is published which provides a more in-depth contextualization of the violations throughout the whole year. Additionally to the quarterly reports, 7amleh has been publishing monthly reports covering the digital rights trends and main updates in Palestine for January, February, April, and for May in English and Arabic. In addition to the reports of digital rights violations reported to 7amleh, 7amleh continues 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. The update contains the main pieces concerning digital rights communicated through the mailchimp. In the first half of 2022, 7amleh documented an increase in the cases of gender-based violence online (GBVo), and regarding this, together with seven civil society organizations, published a joint statement denouncing the incitement to violence against the LGBTQ community in Arabic.
| Advocacy |
7amleh has launched a US-based Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition which coordinates Palestine advocacy in the United States. The 18-member coalition meets regualry to discuss and plan advocacy on Palestinian rights issues, in particular in regards to US-based social media and tech companies.
7amleh is regularly meeting with the Arab Alliance for Digital Rights (AADR) to discuss and coordinate on digital rights issues. The AADR furthermore holds regular meetings with social media companies in regard to content management in the Arab World.
7amleh has engaged and met with the new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Francesca Albanese, sharing the situation of Palestinian digital rights.
7amleh participated in a European Union session on the Gaza Blockade and the Israeli Surveillance State, together with the former and new UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, and Oxfam (live feed on Facebook).
7amleh is continuing to meet regularly with social media companies such as Meta, Twitter and Google in order to discuss violations of Palestinian digital rights on these platforms, and restore content that was wrongly removed. Additionally, 7amleh has participated in a summit held by Meta in Jordan in June 2022. 7amleh is still waiting for the outcome of the independent examination of Meta’s content moderation policies in Hebrew and Arabic.
The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition published a statement welcoming the filing of a lawsuit against the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group. The lawsuit was filed against the NSO Group’s for infiltrating the phone of French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender Salah Hammouri.
Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition (PDRC)
Locally, 7amleh continues regular meetings with the Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition (PDRC) on a bi-monthly or as-needed basis to discuss relevant Palestinian digital rights developments. Additionally, since the end of 2021, 7amleh has been cooperating with the Central Elections Commission in preparation for the March 2022 Palestinian local elections. In addition to a training on digital marketing and reporting digital rights violations (see below), 7amleh has been raising awareness on social media through on the issue, including a video (in Arabic). Furthermore, a trusted communication channel between the Central Elections Committee and 7amleh has been established in order to flag and address any digital rights violations in connection with the elections.
| Campaigns |
7amleh, in coordination with SumOfUs relaunched the “PayPal: Stop Discriminating Against Palestinians” online petition, which grasped the attention of actor Mark Ruffalo, who tweeted about the campaign, and has reached more than 220,000 signatures.
Online Hate Speech
At the end of March/ beginning of April, 7amleh launched a large-scale social media awareness-raising campaign against online hate speech in Arabic. The campaign was initiated in cooperation with a number of social media influencers, who each produced one video on the topic, and shared through 7amleh’s Facebook, Youtube and Instagram accounts: on Facebook Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4, Video 5, Video 6, Video 7, Video 8, Video 9. Throughout 7amleh’s social media channels this campaign reached 710,264, had an engagement of 1390, a viewership of 432,625 and 316,748 clicks.
As part of 7amleh’s ‘Digital Rights Ambassadors Trainings at three Palestinian universities, where students received trainings on digital rights, digital campaigning and advocacy, students launched a total of three campaigns; “Hey Google, Palestine is here” (#Hey_GOOGLE_هون_فلسطين), addressing Google’s discriminatory policies regarding Palestine, which reached more than 815,000 and engaged more than 2,000; “Facebook, it’s enough, we need to talk” (#فيسبوك_بكفي_بدنا_نحكي), which included the online petition “Facebook, We Need to Talk”, which has almost 60,000 signatures; and “We Want PayPal in Palestine” (#بدنا PayPal في فلسطين), addressing the lack of access to PayPal for Palestinians in the West Bank, whereas Israelis in unlawful Israeli settlements in the West Bank are guaranteed access. The campaign reached more than 220.000 and engaged more than 21,000 with over 300,000 video views.
| Capacity Building |
Digital Security Conference
On January 18, 2022 7amleh held the digital security conference “Digital Security for Palestinians: Facing Challenges and Obstacles'', analyzing and discussing different aspects of digital security situation of Palestinians: digital security of children and adolescents, digital security for activists, women & human rights defenders, digital security for organizations, as well as digital security for women and LGBTQ+ online. More than 150 people participated in the conference.
7amleh is continuing to hold capacity building workshops and trainings on issues surrounding digital rights, digital security and digital activism. With the impact of the coronavirus decreasing within Palestine, the majority of the trainings are being held in-person again.
Digital Security for Students
A total of 305 Palestinian school students in East Jerusalem, 200 girls and 105 boys, have been trained on digital security and how to best protect themselves online. All trainings took place at Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem.
Digital Rights Ambassadors
Additionally, 7amleh is building the capacity of university students on digital issues to become ‘digital rights ambassadors’ and be able to advocate effectively for Palestinian digital rights. A total of 91 students have received trainings in digital rights, documentation of digital rights violations, fake news, hate speech and stereotypes and digital advocacy.
Youth Ambassadors of Palestine
As part of the UNFPA programme “Youth Ambassadors of Palestine” 7amleh has built the capacity of 19 Palestinians, 9 from Gaza and 10 from the West Bank, on issues of digital rights, digital security, digital advocacy, as well as mobile journalism and digital storytelling throughout four training sessions.
In March, 7amleh held a training on Digital Marketing and best practices to manage electoral campaigns online for electoral candidates. All 54 participants were managers or heads of electoral lists for the April 2022 Palestinian municipial elections.
Reporting of Digital Rights Violations
In order to build the capacity of civil society, organizations, and activists to be aware of their digital rights and to protect themselves against these violations and report them through 7or, 7amleh held 3 workshops with diplomatic staff, journalists and the Dooz community, a volunteer media project in the north of the occupied West Bank city Nablus, training a total of 18 diplomatic staff, 9 journalists, and 11 volunteers.
Organizational Trainings on Digital Advocacy, Campaigning and Digital Security
In order to deliver digital security and digital advocacy trainings according to the specific needs of organizations advocating for Palestinian human rights, 7amleh has held organizational digtial security and digital advocacy assessments for a total of twenty Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations. Twelve of these organizations, in the continuation of this project, have been receiving trainings tailored to their needs, challenges and resources in digital security and digital advocacy. The remaining eight organizations will receive trainings on organizational digital skills, including digital security for human rights, combating smear campaigns and hate speech online, digital appearance, digital marketing, digital advocacy, digital storytelling, and communication strategies according to their specific needs throughout the remaining half of 2022 and 2023.
Training of Trainers on Digital Security
In order to build the capacity of digital security trainers, 7amleh held two trainings of trainers (TOTs), training a total of 11 digital security trainers. The trainers were trained on how to deliver trainings with a new curriculum for high-risk human rights organizations, and on the legal security and tech-related aspects of creating digital security policies for organizations respectively. These trainers are now equipped with the required skills to deliver trainings on digital security, specifically regarding these skills, to Palestinians across Palestine.
Training of Trainers on Digital Security
7amleh successfully launched the sixth edition of the annual Palestine Digital Activism Forum (PDAF) in May. The three-day online event attracted more than 1300 live participants and more than 300,000 viewers throughout social media channels. The local, regional and international speakers, trainers and participants discussed and built skills and capacities surrounding issues of “Digital Solidarity for Justice”. More than 120 speakers and trainers from all around the globe participated in the PDAF, including for instance US Congress Member Rashida Tlaib, Twitter’s George Salama, member of the Danish Parliament Uffe Elbaek, and UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lowler. Furthermore, the PDAF partnered with more than 60 local, regional and international organizations, including the social media companies Twitter, Meta, and Clubhouse. All recordings can be accessed through this Youtube playlist. Alaa, a participant, explains his experience at the PDAF: "The people participating transcend all borders, barriers, and many geographical divisions, to gather in one place, which gives you the opportunity to learn, educate and hear and learn more about different opinions and experiences."
| 7amleh in the Media, Social Media, and External Participation |
7amleh has been interviewed and mentioned in the media 84 times so far, including by TRT World, Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Al Jazeera English. 7amleh’s Executive Director Nadim Nashif was quoted in TRT World on the discrimination of Palestinians on the online payment platform PayPal: “ "Opening up PayPal to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is crucial because right now it's stifling the Palestinian digital economy," [...] adding that the global economy is increasingly online, including in its use of digital payment methods.” Furthermore, 7amleh’s documentation of Palestinian digital rights violations through 7or was mentioned by TRT World in an article on pro-Palestinian censorship on Instagram:
In the first half of 2022, 7amleh engaged more than 1,000,000 people through their content on social media - an engagement of nearly as many people as throughout the whole last year. Additionally, 7amleh is continuously increasing their follower numbers throughout all social media platforms, we have been trying to develop new ways and stratigies to engage people and build a community on the platforms where people not only see our updates, news and announcement, but also get new knowledge and nformation rearding the palestinian digital rights issues, therefore encourage them to engage and also share such content with their networks. 7amleh’s and SumOfUs’ joint campaign on PayPal has gained the attention of actor Mark Ruffalo and has been retweeted by him.
Conference and Webinar Participation
On March 24, 2022 7amleh participated in the UNDP event “Digital Palestine” with a side event on “Privacy and Data Protection”, focusing on digital rights violations of Palestinians and how their data can be better protected.
7amleh and the Middle East Institute co-hosted the two-part webinar series on Israeli surveillance: “Life Under Digital Occupation: The Global Implications of the Israeli Surveillance State“ and “Global Repercussions: Exporting the Israeli Surveillance Model”.
At the Mozzila Festival 2022, 7amleh hosted a session on Israeli surveillance and the Palestinian experience, as well as a session on the attacks on indigenous content on social media platforms.
At the 2022 RightsCon, 7amleh hosted the session “Respect and Protect: How Civil Society can Best Advocate for digital rights on social media” on how social media can be employed to raise awareness on and strengthen digital rights, and participated in three more sessions discussing how tech companies are contributing to authoritarianism, to digital apartheid and how content moderation influences in particular women human rights defenders.
In April, 7amleh participated in a session on “Closing digital divides and further harnessing ICT for sustainable development via the WSIS +20 review and the Internet Universality ROAM-X indicators“ with UNESCO at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2022.
Also in April, 7amleh participated in a webinar on “Social Media Companies Double Standards” (in Arabic), discussing Internet accessibility in times of war with SMEX.
In March, 7amleh gave a presentation on the violation of digital rights and their documentation at the Al-Quds Bard College’s month-long “Our Palestine Symposium”.
In February, 7amleh’s Executive Director and Advocacy Advisor participated in the webinar “Social Media: Israel/Palestine’s New Battleground” by the Galilee Foundation.
7amleh also participated in a session on “Recording of Global Repercussions: Exporting the Israeli Surveillance Model” with Al-Awda New York.
Additionally, 7amleh delivered presentations of the digital rights situation in Palestine to students of the Arabic Culture Association.