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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and 7amleh - The Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement submit this statement ahead of the Human Rights Council 37th session to express our grave concern regarding the crackdown on freedom of expression and infringements on privacy online for Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.

Recent years have witnessed a sharp rise in attacks on the right to free speech and privacy online for Palestinians. Digital rights violations are perpetrated at the hands of all three governments: the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the de-facto government of Hamas in Gaza. In addition, social media companies, whose policies have called into question their neutrality, are complying with Israel in censoring Palestinian voices. Online platforms, particularly social media platforms, have become a new arena of political confrontation for the conflict as well as a place to discuss internal issues within the Palestinian community. It is crucial that the rights to freedom of expression and privacy, as stipulated in UN conventions, are upheld and respected for Palestinians.