x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Apple removes 'Third Intifada' mobile phone app after Israeli pressure

The free Arabic-language application listed upcoming protests against Israel, provided links to photos depicting demonstrations against Israel¿s policies towards the Palestinians and included connections to Arabic editorials and news articles.

TEL AVIV // Apple, one of the world's biggest technology companies, agreed yesterday to remove a mobile phone application from its popular App Store that calls for a Palestinian uprising, giving in to pressure from Israel and US-Jewish groups.

The free Arabic-language application, called ThirdIntifada, was released several days ago. It listed upcoming protests against Israel, provided links to photos depicting demonstrations against Israel's policies towards the Palestinians and included connections to Arabic editorials and news articles. It also offered links to nationalistic Palestinian videos and songs.

Israeli government ministers, with the help of pro-Israeli groups in the US, launched a campaign this week to have the computer giant cancel the application, claiming it was "anti-Israeli" and "anti-Zionist" and incited violence against Israel. There have been public calls by Jewish American groups, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, for Apple to remove the application.

The Palestinians have staged two violent intifadas, or uprisings, from 1987 to 1993 and from 2000 to 2005.

Yuli Edelstein, Israel's information minister, yesterday called Apple's decision to remove the application "an additional step in preventing hostile elements, which are frequently tainted by anti-Semitism, from spreading incitement via the 'new media'."

Apple is not the first major US company to succumb to Israeli pressure.

In March, Facebook yanked a page calling for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel which had drawn more than 300,000 followers within a few days. Unidentified activists had set up the page calling for a third intifada to be launched on May 15, the date known by Palestinians as Nakba Day, the annual commemoration day for the displacement of Palestinians in the 1948 war that created Israel.

Israeli media reported yesterday that a Dubai-based company, which was not named, was responsible for developing both the Facebook page and the Apple application.

An Apple spokesman said the application was removed because "it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people".

 

foreign.desk@thenational.ae