updated 05:35 pm EDT, Tue June 21, 2011
Government claims app encourages violence
The Israeli government has asked Apple to ban a pro-Palestinian application, named ThirdIntifada, from the App Store. The government has expressed concerns of the app's content, claiming the articles and news stories, written in Arabic, encourage violence against Israel. The app essentially serves as a link to a website of the same name.
"Upon review of the stories, articles and photos published by means of the application, one can easily see that this is in fact anti-Israel and anti-Zionist," Israel's information minister, Yuli Edelstein, told Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a letter, which was quoted by The Sacramento Bee. "Furthermore, as is implied by its name, the application calls for an uprising against the State of Israel."
Although "intifada" is a general term associated with resistance, the app's title is viewed as a direct reference to specific uprisings, the First Intifada and Second Intifada, which resulted in thousands of deaths from both sides of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The Israeli government is particularly nervous about the possibility of a third uprising, amid unrest in several other countries in the Middle East, according to a recent Ynet report. Officials are said to be preparing contingency plans for possible scenarios involving a third intifada, with clashes seen as increasingly likely if Palestine moves to declare statehood later this summer.
Edelstein successfully pleaded with Facebook to remove a pro-Palestinian page, which amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. It remains unclear if Apple will follow the same route, in agreement with the Israeli government's interpretation of the app's content; the App Store guidelines explicitly bar apps that incite violence against religious, cultural or ethnic groups.