[Israel] wants Palestinians to shut up and be quiet, to accept the occupation. Israel is trying to deliver a message that any Palestinians - whether from Hamas, Fatah or the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] - can be arrested.Iyab Shalabi has only been allowed to visit his father, Omar, in prison once since December, when he and eight other Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem were arrested by Israel for posts they wrote on Facebook and other social media outlets.
~Iyab Shalabi, Son of jailed Palestinian activist
"Several months went by before they actually gave me a permit to visit my dad," Iyab, 22, told Al Jazeera. "My mother has been completely banned from visiting him till now."
Earlier this month, Omar, 44, was sentenced to nine months in an Israeli prison for charges related to incitement and "supporting terror" against Israelis. He is the former secretary-general of Jerusalem's branch of Fatah, the Palestinian political party that dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
"It was very clear from the beginning that my father was targeted because he is still an influential activist and has a lot of support and respect in the community," Iyab continued.
The court cited several of Shalabi's Facebook postings about Muhammad Abu Khudair, a 17-year-old Palestinian kidnapped and burned alive by Israeli settlers in Jerusalem last July, as well as "statuses" he wrote supporting Palestinian attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the city.
Iyab rejects the assertion that his father's Facebook postings posed any threat to Israel's security. "They don't have any real evidence that he presented any danger to anyone's safety," he argued. "Of course, this is oppression and discrimination. Everyone writes their opinion on Facebook."