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Israeli Kids' Messages on Bombs Sparks Debate Worldwide

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    ONLINE CONTROVERSY OVER GRAFFITI BY ISRAELI KIDS SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL Jerusalem Post 7/23/06
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2006
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      ONLINE CONTROVERSY OVER GRAFFITI BY ISRAELI KIDS
      SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL
      Jerusalem Post
      7/23/06
      http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153291980307&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

      SEE WEBSITE FOR PHOTO


      In the public relations battle brewing on-line, there is a new eye to
      the center of the storm surrounding the war with Hizbullah - a series
      of photos showing Israeli children writing messages on shells meant
      for targets in Lebanon.

      Questions over the photos' authenticity have been put to rest by
      authorities that were present during the incident, which occurred on
      July 17 near the northern border. The mostly local children had been
      brought to see the shells by their parents. Although it remains
      unclear who encouraged them to write the messages, their colorful
      scribbles, including a Star of David, hearts, and "From Israel, with
      Love," have appeared in dozens of blogs, or on-line journals, and
      on-line photo hosting sites.

      Although the IDF has failed to issue a response to the incident, a
      spokesman from the IDF said it "appeared as though the situation
      occurred unofficially." Although an officer was present during the
      incident, the soldiers, and the IDF as a whole, did not condone or
      condemn the incident.

      An official close to Israel's public relations campaign said that
      there was "no way" to spin the incident in a positive light. "Some
      people are simply irresponsible," said the official.

      On-line, the photos are being called "horrifying," "disgusting" and
      "despicable." "I still cannot understand why or how anyone would allow
      their young children to walk up to missiles or other explosives. The
      militarization of children is always a crime," said one user by the
      name of "aviv2b" on the Guardian Web site, which ran a lengthy
      discussion about the photos.

      Another reader, by the name barbicanangel posted that "I still say
      Israel is right in this war, however, the picture of young Jewish
      girls signing the shells is quite disturbing."

      Although the photos were first taken by professional photographers
      from AFP, Associated Press, and Haaretz, they were circulated on-line
      through the popular photo-hosting Web site Flickr.com. That site
      republished the photos, bringing them to the attention of hundreds who
      later posted them on their own personal sites.

      Many users on both the flickr and Guardian Web sites said that the
      images proved how difficult it was for a country to control their
      public relations image on-line. "There is no way to tell how, when,
      where, or why these photos were taken," said one anonymous poster. "We
      have to rely on the people hosting the Web sites, who have no official
      accountability hanging over their heads at all."

      Over the years, there have been a number of photos that have been
      popularized by the on-line community such as photos of young
      Palestinian babies dressed as suicide bombers, or Israeli children in
      Purim costumes mocking Palestinian political officials.

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