Ramallah: Facebook posts that reject, condemn or even criticise the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza are costing Palestinian citizens of Israel their jobs and security.

Hundreds of Palestinians have ended up jobless as their employers have sacked them because of their negative social media comments about the situation in Gaza.

“An undeniable and unprecedented trend of firing Arabs of the 1948 areas is on a sharp rise,” said Dr Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, referring to Palestinian citizens of Israel. “Those people have been permanently sacked from their jobs because of some post they have made on their Facebook pages.”

Tibi said that he receives daily requests from Arabs from all over the country to intervene and help. “I have received requests from staff of mobile phone companies, hospital crews, college and university students and other positions where all facebook pages are undoubtedly under the microscope,” he said. “Almost all Arabs of the 1948 areas who have written any thing against the Israeli assault on Gaza on their facebook pages have been summoned by the Israeli security authorities for investigation and interrogations.”

He said that summons orders for facebook users are arriving daily and job terminations are advised within hours of the official investigations. “We want and seek our public in the 1948 areas to express their feelings and write about the Israeli aggression on Gaza but they need to do that with utmost caution and wisdom,” he stressed.

Tibi said that the Palestinian citizens of Israel areas are currently passing though one of the most difficult times ever and that Israelis have been provoking them and interrogating them.

“The Jews on the other hand have been exempted from this process in the sense that they have and will never be questioned and punished for their Facebook posts although their offensive posts call for hatred and racism and operate as incitement,” he said.

Tibi recalled the rape campaign of the Israeli renowned academic and former intelligence officer Mordechai Kedar who called for the rape of sisters, mothers and daughters of the Hamas operatives to deter the Palestinian resistance. “This man has not been punished but the university where he serves issued a statement of support for him,” he said.

Israel seeks to have all its citizens, regardless of their religion, ethnic background and personal views, to remain loyal to the state of Israel, accept its narrative and abide by its terminology. Citizens who fail to do this are often punished through legal channels and outside of a legal framework.

In a debate with Jewish member of the Knesset Meir Sheetrit on Israel’s Channel 2, Tibi refused to brand members of Hamas as terrorists but insisted on terming them as fighters who have worth and should be shown all respect. “Hamas fighters are battling with the Israeli military forces which in turn bomb the houses of civilians and murder women and children,” he said.

Sheetrit on the other hand claimed that senior Israeli military officers have informed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that the vast majority of those Palestinians killed in Gaza were Hamas “terrorists”.

“Whoever claims [otherwise] should be detained on charges of lying. Israel will not be able to promote and sell this big lie. This is a hopeless case. The pictures pouring from Gaza speak to themselves,” he Tibi.