Israeli police “mistakenly” arrested a Palestinian man after they thought he had published a Facebook post saying “hurt them” when he originally wrote “Good morning”, a media report said.
According to a spokeswoman for the Israel Police’s West Bank district, the police arrested the man relying on the automatic translation feature on Facebook that completely changed the meaning of what he had posted on the social media platform, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.
The man, a construction worker, was arrested “on suspicion of incitement” and released shortly after the assumption turned out to be false.
In the post on October 15, the man was seen smiling and holding a cup of coffee and a cigarette while standing alongside a bulldozer at a construction site in the Beitar Illit settlement.
“No Arabic-speaking officer read the post prior to the arrest, which was carried out by officers who relied solely on Facebook’s automatic translation,” Haaretz newspaper was cited as saying.
The report in Times of Israel said that there is only a single letter’s difference between the colloquial Arabic phrase for “good morning to you all” and “hurt them”.
Police combined the false translation with the image of the bulldozer — a vehicle that has been prominently used in attacks in the past, according to the Israelis — and assumed the man has the intentions to do the same.
The police came to know the reality after they interrogated him and released him after realising their mistake.