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[liberationtech] Computer seizure in the West Bank

Jillian C. York jilliancyork at
Tue May 8 08:23:41 PDT 2012


With all due respect, your post also contains some falsehoods.  First off,
this is not accurate:

"That is, Palestinians must utilize Israeli ISPs because they, unlike their
Palestinian counterparts, are not being blocked in the name of suppression."

Yes, the Palestinian Authority was blocking websites until the recent
debacle caused them to backtrack.  This is indefensible.  That said, that
is *not at all* why Palestinians must utilize Israeli ISPs.  The
Palestinian network, as Miriyam Aouragh has detailed greatly in her
excellent book *Palestine Online* as have Harvard Berkman Center
researchers, is entirely co-dependent on the Israeli network.  Palestinians
do not use Israeli ISPs, they use Palestinian ISPs that are dependent on
Israeli ones, because Israel retains control over telecommunications in the
West Bank.

>From the OpenNet Initiative<>,
a research group of the University of Toronto, SecDev, and Harvard's
Berkman Center (full disclosure: I used to work there, but did not write or
research this particular profile):

*The telecom market in the Palestinian territories faces a number of
challenges. For example, there are restrictions on what equipment can be
imported. Businesses reported that Israel does not allow the importation of
equipment such as GPS devices for security
does not have a direct connection to the Internet infrastructure, and
Internet services go through an Israeli service

Israel also blocks access to 3G services in the West Bank.

Now, I cannot speak to this particular incident either, but given Israel's
treatment of journalists (see CPJ's 2011
which also includes Palestinian attacks on journalists), Israel's
habit of shutting
down television
and the fact of the occupation more generally, it would not surprise me in
the least.

*That said*, we must absolutely condemn the censorship enacted by Hamas and
the PA as well.  But that should go without saying.  Ultimately, Jonathan,
it's you who comes off as one-sided.


On Tue, May 8, 2012 at 5:09 PM, Jonathan Ezor <jezor at> wrote:

>  The one-sided, incendiary and inaccurate terminology of the blog posting
> quoted by Mallory Knodel creates the impression that, were it not for the
> actions of the overbearing Israelis, Palestinians would otherwise enjoy
> full computer and Internet freedom. Of course, this is far from the truth.
> Rather, as reported by many including Thomas Friedman in his 7 May 2012 New
> York Times editorial (
> it is the Palestinian Authority which has suppressed online speech,
> arrested bloggers and journalists for governmental criticism, and sought to
> block entire Web sites, only to be foiled in the last effort because (as
> Friedman says the now-resigned Palestinian Authority communications
> minister Mashour Abudaka stated) “with Israeli Internet providers covering
> much of the West Bank, it is impossible to block any site completely, ‘so
> why give us the image of a dictatorship?’” That is, Palestinians must
> utilize Israeli ISPs because they, unlike their Palestinian counterparts,
> are not being blocked in the name of suppression.****
> ** **
> It is incumbent upon all of us that, before we accept any side’s version
> of events such as the alleged seizure of the BlockTheWall computers
> reported in this blog, we seek out additional, empirical sources to get a
> full (or at least better) understanding of what happened. This is as true
> today as it was for the various actions chronicled by Bruce Sterling in The
> Hacker Crackdown decades ago, and those who are subject to governmental
> action may be just as likely to skew reporting for their own purposes as
> governments themselves. {Jonathan}****
> ** **
> -------------------
> Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
> Assistant Professor of Law
> Director, Institute for Business, Law and Technology (IBLT)
> Touro Law Center
> 225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip, NY  11722
> Direct: 631-761-7119
> e-mail: jezor at; PGP key 0xFBA73A9E****
> Skype: jonathanezor     Twitter: profjonathan****
> ** **
> *From:* liberationtech-bounces at [mailto:
> liberationtech-bounces at] *On Behalf Of *Mallory Knodel
> *Sent:* Tuesday, May 08, 2012 10:46 AM
> *To:* Liberation Technologies
> *Subject:* [liberationtech] Computer seizure in the West Bank****
> ** **
> I believe these actions, such as those by the FBI on the May First and
> Riseup server, are indicative of the power of online networks for social
> change. The two situations are quite different in that escalation of this
> attack on Palestinian civil society is a very real possibility without some
> international outcry. Some are suspecting that this is related to the
> current hunger strike of thousands of Palestinian prisoners.
> <snip>****
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*+1-857-891-4244 |** | @jilliancyork *

"We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the
seemingly impossible to become a reality" - *Vaclav Havel*
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