Hamas, like terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and al-Qaida, have learned to use and exploit the Internet.With the six-month cease-fire with Hamas scheduled to conclude on December 19, Hamas has launched a new Web site called “AqsaTube” to promote its attacks against Israel.
The Hamas videos on “AqsaTube” glorify terrorist acts, which Hamas defines as “resistance,” while preaching doctrines of radical Islam. These videos commemorate “shahids” (terrorists who have blown themselves up while conducting acts of murder against Israeli civilians), along with songs and the glorification of operatives from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.”AqsaTube” remains solvent by selling advertising space to commercial companies through Google’s AdSense advertisement serving program, which automatically displays ads according to page content.
While most of the “AqsaTube” videos emanate from Hamas, other Palestinian militants also provide videos to the site. The videos are divided into subheadings: the Hamas movement, Fatah, the children of al-Aqsa (i.e., children motivated by Hamas ideology), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and more.
Themes of the “AqsaTube” videos include:* Showing Palestinian children wearing military uniforms on a background of children’s drawings of rockets, expressing their support for the “resistance” against Israel (i.e., terrorism). A song is played whose words include “death is fame and victory”;* Glorifying shahids (i.e., terrorists who died for the sake of Allah).
There are videos in which the wills of shahids are read and others with songs praising them. A number of videos glorify Yehya Ayyash, who was responsible for the murder of dozens of Israeli civilians in bombing attacks in the 1990s. Ayyash was subsequently killed by a cell-phone bomb planted by Israeli intelligence operatives;* Promoting Hamas’ military activities.
The site features videos of Hamas terrorist activities and glorifies the organization’s operatives.
A 38-minute video explains and demonstrates how to use electrical equipment to detonate explosives.
Hamas and other terrorist organizations also use the Internet for operative purposes, including disseminating information about weapons and the modus operandi of terrorist attacks;
*Advocating for al-Qaida and other global jihad organizations.
The site features videos of al-Qaida number two Ayman al-Zawahiri attacking the Palestinian Authority leadership headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, calling upon Hamas to take tougher positions. Others show Sheikh Omar Abdel al-Rahman, popularly known as “the Blind Sheikh” who currently is serving life for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who expresses his radical opinions, along with videos of “Hamas al-Iraq,” a terrorist organization operating in Iraq that is close to al-Qaida.
* Encouraging conversion to Islam.
It features Americans talking about their conversion to Islam and how happy they are with their choice.One video, devoted to one of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades special units, is accompanied by a song encouraging suicide attacks: “Oh suicide bombers’ unit, oh heroes of the attacks… Our great hope is death for the sake of Allah.
“AqsaTube’s IP address is listed under the name of Abu Nasser Skandar who is in Dubai, while the French firm OVH is the service provider. OVH provides its clients with Internet services and technical support for sites around the world.
According the “AqsaTube” web site, it has 350,000 clients. Besides operating in Gaza, “AqsaTube” also operates in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland. All four countries define Hamas as a terrorist organization, and it is unknown whether their governments will jam access to “AqsaTube.”