Wednesday night, the first Facebook Live chat took place between Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Mordechai answered a small number of questions in the half-hour-long chat that had been submitted to him on the Facebook page that he keeps in Arabic, which he speaks fluently. The questions answered related to day-to-day matters, such as providing entry permits into Israel for work, and matters relating to crossing procedures for sick people seeking entry into the West Bank or Israel for medical treatment.
To the question, "When will the occupation end?" the coordinator answered, "One hand cannot clap," and said that the economic, security and humanitarian situation of the Palestinians in the West Bank was better in comparison than the residents of neighboring Arab states.
One of the posts that did not receive a response was from a student in the Gaza Strip who told of the despair that the youth in Gaza feel, condemned to unemployment and without the ability to travel to other countries due to the blockade on the strip, which has raised the rate of suicides there. The same student also criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas government for not assisting in any way to improve the difficult situation.
Another Palestinian claimed that there was no use in trying to create a dialogue. Mordechai replied, "You're only a clerk in your government, and you have instructions. The easing measures aren't in your hands." Some posted derisive comments here and there, but the vast majority maintained a respectable discourse and asked pertinent questions.
Hamas is extremely opposed to the idea of direct conversation between a senior Israeli official and the Palestinian population. In recent weeks, the organization has even warned Gazans not to feed on the information transmitted to them via Facebook.