Israel trawled Facebook and Twitter to prevent pro-Palestine activists entering the country at the weekend.
Authorities used the social media websites to compile a ‘black list’ of 340 protesters before asking European airlines to bar them from flights bound for Tel Aviv.
Many were stopped en route at airports such as Geneva and Rome, while the 20 that did reach Israel were detained on arrival.
Authorities also kept 400 other foreigners for questioning. Some 130 are now being detained, including 12 Britons from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who were held at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on Friday.
The group’s chairman, university teacher Mick Napier, 64, was one of four Scots detained, the remainder being five English people and three Welsh campaigners.
Spokeswoman Sofiah Macleod said the arrests were ‘quite rough’, while a spokesman for the Welcome To Palestine campaign claimed all the detainees were being ‘mistreated’. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked ‘our many friends around the world’ who helped prevent activists boarding flights. The nation plans to expel all 130 activists in the next two days.
Facebook said it did not help the Israeli authorities, who had no more access to the site’s data than any other user.
The activists had planned to visit the West Bank to back the Palestinian fight for independence and protest at Israeli travel restrictions to and from the disputed territories.