A Palestinian worker got wrongfully arrested due to a Facebook post. A misinterpretation of Facebook auto translator led the Israel Police to capture an innocent man. The Facebook post contained an image showing a bull-dozer behind the worker holding a coffee and cigarette with a smile.
Halawin Halawi is a Palestinian worker in the Beitar Illit settlement in Westbank near Jerusalem. He posted an image taken from the construction site with a note saying “Good Morning” in Arabic on Facebook October 15th. An auto translator interpreted the note “attack them” in Hebrew and “hurt them” in English.
The image contained a Bulldozer. A vehicle previously used to hit and run in terrorist attacks. Israel police arrested Mr. Halawi on the suspect as a terrorist prior to consulting an Arab speaking officer. Authorities admitted the Bulldozer sparked the flare towards the arrest.
There is only one letter’s difference between “good morning to you all” and “hurt them” in casual speaking language.
During the interrogation of the suspect, Israel police realized the misinterpretation. Police agreed to the correct translation was “good morning” and released Mr.Halawi.
Mr.Halawi removed the Facebook post immediately afterward.