Apple removes 'Third Intifada' app

After Israel complains, tech giant says pro-Palestinian programme is "offensive to large groups of people".

    The 3rdIntifada.com mobile application was cut days after Apple approved it

    Technology giant Apple has removed a pro-Palestinian mobile application from its roster of hosted programmes after Israel complained it incited users to violence.

    The "Third Intifada" application essentially reproduced the content from a website of the same name - 3rdIntifada.com - which posts news and opinion articles about Israeli aggression and the Palestinian cause.

    "We removed this app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," an Apple spokesman said on Wednesday, according to the New York Times Bits blog.

    The Third Intifada app, meant to be used on Apple mobile products such as the iPad and iPhone, was approved by the company on June 15.

    Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli minister of public affairs and the diaspora, quickly sent a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs requesting he remove the programme and "thus continue the tradition of Apple applications dedicated to purely entertainment and informative purposes and not serve as an instrument for incitement to violence."

    Edelstein's complaint was followed by another from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which aims to combat anti-Semitism.

    'Offending programmes'

    The complaints against Third Intifada were based on allegations that the programme incited violence and hatred of Israel. Apple's broadly worded app guidelines state that the company will reject apps that contain "references or commentary about a a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence".

    Typical stories on 3rdIntifada.com describe demolitions of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces, the reported unearthing of a Muslim cemetery, and exhortations for Arabs in the Middle East to liberate Palestinians from "Zionist occupation".

    The website noted Apple's ban in a short entry, referring to Israel as the "Zionist entity" and saying it "continues to put pressure on the whole world and all who would sympathise with the Palestinian cause".

    Apple launched its app store in July 2008 and has previously removed offending programmes after complaints. This year, it removed an app that alerted users to nearby police drunk-driving checkpoints after US politicians complained and another that sought to "cure" gay people after Change.org collected more than 140,000 signatures against the religiously-inspired app.

    In 2010, Apple removed an app that allowed users to track releases by the online whistleblower group WikiLeaks, saying programmes "may not put an individual or target group in harm's way".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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