Days after authorizing an application called “The Third Palestinian Intifada,” which offered users updates on upcoming protests – some violent – and featured pictures of “martyrs” and articles critical of Israel, Apple removed the application from iTunes on Wednesday. “We removed this app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,” according to an Apple spokesman.
Apple made its decision after Israeli Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs requesting that the company remove the application. The Simon Wiesenthal Center also put out a statement asking the company to “immediately withdraw its approval” of the app, as it “contains anti-Israel content—articles, photographs of ‘martyrs’ and stories—and updates its users on further incitements to protest and violence.”
The group behind the application is reported to be the same group that created the “Third Intifada” Facebook page, which was taken down at the end of March one month after it first appeared.
What does all this mean? As new media changes, so does Israel’s battleground. Much to its credit, Israel’s Public Diplomacy Department has been on the forefront of preventing groups from actively spreading their violent message on these new networks. Hopefully in the near future companies such as Facebook and Apple will take the initiative and either quickly remove or, in Apple’s case, not approve, violent pages or applications in the first place.