Website wars in the Middle East

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Fri Oct 27 07:46:35 MDT 2000

More on the topic from October 25 Lebanese paper Daily Star

Israeli website tries to shut down Hizbullah's
Ranwa Yehia
Daily Star staff

Israel has set up a website to show both amateur and professional internet
users how to "attack and destroy Hizbullah" by just logging onto it.
The site (, which Hizbullah webmaster Ali Ayoub said sends
files that cripple Hizbullah's site, is one of the reasons one of his
Hizbullah websites was shut down earlier this month.
"It's a very simple yet effective idea based on having people log on and the
website will automatically do the attacking for them," Ayoub said.
The front page of the website resembles a Star Wars computer game rather
than an Israeli site.
The site's main logo says "ATTACK & DESTROY HiZBALLAH." The background
intensifies the flame designs that rise from the word "Hizbullah." Just
below that, two icons appear, one in English, the other in Hebrew. Both say
Pressing enter, the same logo appears and a description of what Hizbullah
represents to Israelis and their supporters appears.
"Hizbullah is a terrorist organization. It uses the internet to justify
terrorist acts against Israel. Hizbullah's sites provide disinformation of
facts in Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority territories," the
introduction says.
Following that are instructions on what the site can do: "The site you
entered now provides a tool that will make Hizbullah's efforts null if
enough users activate it."
Ayoub said that "every time a user chooses one of the nine sites listed on
the website, a file is activated to target the site every second."
The Israeli website's internet service provider is based in the United
States. Ayoub has already e-mailed the ISP, whose website is,
complaining about the illegal action.
"It's been three days and still no response. This is a battle, and we're
trying not to overstep the legal limit in dealing with the situation. Our
major retaliation is to continue to exist," Ayoub said.
The Israeli site addresses both amateur and professional internet
programmers, and provides details of how to target Hizbullah websites. In
addition to six Hizbullah-related websites, the Israeli website lists one
for Hamas (, another for the Palestinian Authority
( and another providing information on Palestine
The last website listed, (,), is displayed in red. Below it,
also in red, is an explanation that the website is currently under attack.
"We need to attack the same target for more damage," it says, also in red.
"The moqawama website is the most difficult to attack. But even if the
Israelis can cripple it, we have back-up plans. Our strategy is similar to
any one adopted during a resistance operation. We're aware that there's a
price to pay," Ayoub said.
He added that Hizbullah's technical team was in a state of "utmost
technological emergency" to combat the wave of attacks. The Israeli website
has contributed to the crippling of two Hizbullah websites over the past
three weeks, with more than 9 million hits directed at the sites.
The Israeli website indicates that it was established on Oct. 6, or about
the same time Hizbullah websites started to be targeted.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, the website indicated that it had received
21,800 visitors since it was set up.
Ayoub sends his clients an e-mail explaining the situation: "We're sure, as
you are, that such actions are illegal, but this does not mean that we're in
any way incapable of attempting the same techniques as they're using.
"We wish only at this point to bring to your kind attention one of 1 million
illegal actions 'Israel' uses to attain its goals, and we hope that through
your media we can perhaps hope that something might be done to put a stop to
some of 'Israel's' illegal actions."
Ayoub insisted that Hizbullah's official policy was not to attack the
Israeli website, but to use legal means, such as complaining to the ISP and
holding it accountable for allowing the attacks.
"However, if our friends and sympathizers want to attack the Israeli
website, they're more than welcome," he said.
This seems to be exactly what is happening. A website, hosted by a company
called Tripod, provides an opportunity for Hizbullah sympathizers and
supporters to counterattack the Israeli website.
Entitled "Defend the Resistance" the website,, provides internet users with the
opportunity to attack three Israeli websites: the Israeli government
(, the Israeli Army ( and the website attacking
Hizbullah (
"Upon clicking 'Defend the Resistance,' an automatically programmed file
will be ready to stage counterattacks against some of the 'Israeli' websites
which try to hit the resistance's sites. This counterattack will continue as
long as you have access to internet," reads the simply designed website in
both English and Arabic.
There is no indication of the source or identity of those responsible for
setting up the website.
Although Ayoub denied that Hizbullah set up the website, he said he was
familiar with it. He added that it was not strange that Hizbullah
sympathizers would want to set up such a counterattack.
"As long as the attack doesn't wipe us out completely," he said, "these
things will just make us stronger."

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