FC: Israelis shun .il, create sites with faux Palestianian names

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Fri Jun 28 2002 - 07:00:34 PDT

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    From: =?windows-1255?Q?=E2=EC_=EE=E5=F8?= <GAL-MO@y-i.co.il>
    To: "'declanat_private'" <declanat_private>
    Subject: Pro Israeli sites masquerade Palestinian organizations and towns
             on line
    Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 19:14:46 +0200
    Hi Declan,
    Thought you might be interested.
    (Ynet news site, in Hebrew)
    Pro Israeli sites masquerade Palestinian organizations and towns on line
    By Gal Mor,
    Computer and Internet correspondent, ynet
    A group of Israeli citizens launched a network of websites operating from 
    url’s carrying Palestinian names, in order to reach surfers who might pass 
    by a site with an obvious pro-Israel name.
    These sites are jenin.org, tulkarem.org and beitjalla.com (named after the 
    Palestinian towns of Jenin, Tul Karem and Beit Jalla), fatah.org.uk (named 
    after the major organization in the PLO) and force17.org (named after 
    Arafat’s personal brigade).
    Other sites in the network include sabrashatila.com (named after the 
    Palestinian refuge camps Sabra and Shatila) and alaqsabrigade.org (after 
    the Palestinian terror squad that launched several suicide attacks) and 
    more. These websites are quite similar in content and quality. To the 
    unsuspecting eye, they seem as authentic Palestinian sites.
    “Beit Jalla is a Christian Arab village bordering the Israeli City of Gilo 
    with a population of 40,000 Israelis. The predominantly Muslim Arab 
    militias have chosen   Beit Jalla as a launching point for their attacks in 
    a deliberate attempt to draw the Christian world into conflict by provoking 
    Israeli reprisals“, says the “Who are we” section at Beitjalla.com.
    Other sections in these sites as the “Pictures of our work” section in 
    Beitjalla.com give an impression of your average small village online but 
    instead of viewing pictures of beautiful Beit Jalla, the unsuspecting 
    visitor sees pics from terror attacks.
    The network operators aim to change Israel’s Public relations in the media. 
    “Israel's level of PR is as good as Madeline Albright's attempt to hide the 
    fact that she is Jewish”, says one of the network operators interviewed by 
    “We wanted to accomplish 2 things, “One: to prevent terror groups or other 
    political groups from using these domain names as a launching pad for their 
    propaganda war where they spread hate and lies. Two: to try and re-educate 
    the masses-give them hardcore facts on what these terror groups are about, 
    where they are really from, who funds them, who are their leaders, which 
    attacks they take responsibility for. In the case of a city like jenin or 
    tul karem our aim is to try to explain to the masses why Israel keeps on 
    going into these towns”.
    The operators of these sites explain some Internet users will not even 
    click on a link unless it seems to agree with their preconceived ideas. 
    These surfers might not click on a link that sounds pro-Israel and might 
    pass by a site with an obvious pro-Israel name.
    Nevertheless, most of these URL’s belong to those of Israel's enemies, in 
    what seems as a new trend of “political cybersquatting”.
    Other elements included in these sites, as links from respected news 
    sources as AP or New York Times and the Food court section, that reefers to 
    Islamic Food recipes online or the Bazaar section, that show e-commerce 
    links to books as “The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation 
    Organization” by 
    Becker at Amasom.com or “Know Islam - Know Peace” a Board Game for Children 
    at islamicity.org, contribute to these sites reliability.
    “We try and keep our sources reliable and mainstream. We reference sites 
    including Reuters, Associated Press, Washington Post and NYTimes”, says the 
    They get mixed responses. “What is interesting to us is that when people 
    write about the sites in forums such as palestine.indymedia.org or 
    www.indymedia.org.il they call us either the mossad or c. propaganda 
    artists. I find the propaganda artists title quite interesting…”.
    Gal Mor
    Computers and Internet correspondent
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