Palestinian arrested after posting 'Good morning' on Facebook

West Bank builder held by police after software mistranslated his message


A Palestinian builder was arrested by Israeli police in the West Bank after he posted a message reading “good morning” to Facebook, which was mistranslated from Arabic to “attack them”.

Khalawim Khalawi posted the message with a photo of himself next to a bulldozer in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit, where he works last week.

Facebook automatically translated it to “attack them” in Hebrew, and “hurt them” in English, Haaretz reported.

The Judea and Samaria District police were quickly notified of the post.

The presence of a bulldozer in the photo alarmed officers, because the vehicles have been used in hit-and-run terrorist attacks.

Mr Khalawi was questioned but released hours later.

Haaretz explained that the error was down to Facebook using a transliterating service – meaning a translation of individual corresponding letters – rather than translating whole words of phrases.

The police confirmed to the newspaper that it had mistakenly arrested Mr Khalawi, and agreed that he posted “good morning”.

The Facebook post has now been removed.

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