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By 28 June 2011 | Categories: news

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Apple is under the spotlight again this week in a fresh round of controversy after the Cupertino-based company removed a pro-Palestinian app from its iTunes store.

According to thinq, the app is called ThirdIntifada, and is an Arabic-language app which provides users with details of upcoming anti-Israel protests and demonstrations.

Isreal's public diplomacy minister, Yuli Edelstein, personally called on the company to remove the app, saying it was, “anti-Israel and anti-Zionist” and that it could, “unite many towards an objective that could be disastrous.”

Palestinian groups have however hit back at Apple, saying the app's content did not incite a call to violence. The term intifada has been used in the past to describe campaigns of civil disobedience against Israel. Apple maintains its grip on content however, with a spokesman saying it, “violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”

This isn't the first time Apple has been quick to dropkick a potentially controversial app, with the company pulling the WikiLeaks app last year as well as other religiously motivated apps as well as saucy ones such as last year's failed Playboy app.

In the meantime the Isreali government has been continuing to make claims against online groups, with a personal appeal to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently causing the 'Third Intifada' Facebook page to be deleted. This after it had attracted some 350 000 followers.

A Palestinian delegation is set to seek recognition of statehood from the UN later this year in September, with fears that if failed it could lead to new conflict and uprisings against Israel's 44-year occupation of the West bank and Gaza strip.

While Apple's decision can be seen as simply trying to avoid being pulled into a larger confrontation, according to thinkprogress the iTunes store still plays home to the “Israel MFA” app. This app features news, videos and photos that portray Palestinians in a negative way, and praises things like the “Israeli humanitarian lifeline in Gaza.”

Many sees the Israel MFA app as the exact opposite of the ThirdIntifada app, so Apple’s PR team might have to think carefully about the kind of message they’d like to portray in future.

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