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[liberationtech] Computer seizure in the West Bank

Jonathan Ezor jezor at tourolaw.edu
Tue May 8 08:26:07 PDT 2012


I take your point, and thank you for the supplemental data. As I said, I am in favor of more information, because it better informs a discussion regardless of one’s own personal views. {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 tourolaw.edu<mailto:jezor at tourolaw.edu>; PGP key 0xFBA73A9E
Skype: jonathanezor     Twitter: profjonathan

From: Jillian C. York [mailto:jilliancyork at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2012 11:24 AM
To: Jonathan Ezor
Cc: Liberation Technologies
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Computer seizure in the West Bank

Jonathan,

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<http://opennet.net/research/profiles/gazawestbank>, 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 reasons.12<http://opennet.net/research/profiles/gazawestbank#footnote12_52eoknd> Palestine does not have a direct connection to the Internet infrastructure, and Internet services go through an Israeli service provider.13<http://opennet.net/research/profiles/gazawestbank#footnote13_634up2h>

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 report<http://cpj.org/2012/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-2011-israel-and-the-occupied-palestinian-territory.php>, which also includes Palestinian attacks on journalists), Israel's habit of shutting down television stations<http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-shuts-down-two-palestinian-tv-stations-in-ramallah-1.415631>, 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.

Sincerely,
Jillian




On Tue, May 8, 2012 at 5:09 PM, Jonathan Ezor <jezor at tourolaw.edu<mailto:jezor at tourolaw.edu>> 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 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/world/middleeast/arab-spring-stirs-palestinian-journalists-to-test-limits.html), 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<tel:631-761-7119>
e-mail: jezor at tourolaw.edu<mailto:jezor at tourolaw.edu>; PGP key 0xFBA73A9E
Skype: jonathanezor     Twitter: profjonathan

From: liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu<mailto:liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu> [mailto:liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu<mailto:liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu>] 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.com<http://jilliancyork.com/> | @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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