The Syrians have reluctantly accepted the Bush administration’s invitation to join over 40 other countries – including Israel – at tomorrow’s Annapolis peace conference.
But back home they are concerned that young Syrians might go farther and – horror of horrors – actually befriend Israelis.
In a move that has angered many, particularly young people, the Syrian government has blocked the Facebook website, reports the Lebanese paper, Al-Safir.
The authorities in Damascus have not explained the meaning of the move, but observers said that it was motivated by a fear that Syrians might strike up friendships with Israelis, reports Al-Safir.
Facebook is not alone in being blocked. As I have reported previously, Hotmail is also regularly blocked in Syria.
Indeed over the past few months the Syrian regime has intensified a campaign against bloggers, virtual opinion forums, and independent media sites. And Syrian human rights groups report that there is now an “Internet political crimes” ward at one prison.One wonders why the Bush administration – which says it is committed to promoting democracy – has even invited the representatives of such a regime to participate in tomorrow’s conference.