Mar. 23, 2015 Hamas launched a new Arabic-language website on Sunday, where one can read about the Islamist organization’s objectives, leaders and history.
The new site, on which the group will be publishing its own reports, was officially inaugurated in the Gaza City residence of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, on the anniversary of the assassination attempt against him.
In attendance were Hamas leaders including the deputy head of the political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh. The new website, he said, would strengthen the organization’s connections with the public, not only in the Strip and in the West Bank but worldwide.
The website will serve as a means of bypassing the media in order to transmit messages directly to the public, it was said, ‘so the world will hear about us from us and not from others.’ According to sources in Gaza, the website is not necessarily intended for supporters of the organization, but for anyone who is interested in its activity, from within Israel too.
In accordance with that principle, Hamas has for years been operating a department in Hebrew within its public relations office, which distributes film clips and other propagandistic materials designed for the Israeli public. The department has a Twitter account in which members invite surfers to ask questions about Hamas, and promising a response to every request.
The new website joins a broad network of Hamas media outlets, which includes several other sites identified with it – some owned by the organization and others by private individuals affiliated with it – as well as a television channel called Al-Aqsa TV, a newspaper called Palestine, and active accounts on the social networks.
The Twitter account is extremely successful: It boasts over 144,000 followers, its Facebook page has over 12,000 ‘likes,’ its Instagram account has about 950 followers, and its YouTube account draws almost 1,000 followers.
Read the rest here.
The new Hamas site is operating on an IP address that although registered in Singapore, belongs to a block of IP addresses registered to CloudFlare, Inc., a US-based company that provides technology designed to provide websites with enhanced protection, speed, and availability and is perhaps best known for its technological defense against so-called “denial of service attacks.” Although CloudFlare has claimed that it does not actually host sites for Hamas but actually provides a means to mask its actual IP location, US federal law states:
Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both…
However, the CloudFlare CEO has denied in the past that his company is providing such material support to Hamas, stating:
“Both sides have an absolute right to tell their story,” said Prince, a 38-year old former lawyer. “We’re not providing material support for anybody. We’re not sending money, or helping people arm themselves.” Prince noted that his company only provides defensive capabilities that enable websites to stay online. “We can’t be sitting in a role where we decide what is good or what is bad based on our own personal biases,” he said. “That’s a huge slippery slope.”
This is not the first time that the GMBDW has discovered Hamas or Hamas-related servers located in the US. Unpublished GMBDW research some years back determined that the Union of Good, a Hamas fund-raising network headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, was also operating from servers located in the US. In 2004, an Israeli military intelligence website reported that ThePlanet.com, a company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, was hosting a Hamas magazine being published from London.
The GMBDW reported earlier this month that a Twitter campaign launched by Hamas to improve its image seems to have backfired with Twitter users mocking the campaign.
For more on Hamas, go here.
2004 http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/data/pdf/PDF_simuchin_373_2.pdf theplanet.com