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The southern Lebanese village of Bint Jbeil may be crippled by the current strife, but its Web site - complete with message board and guestbook - is still accessible.
Visitors to www.bintjbeil.com are greeted by a blurry painting of the village's rolling hills, beneath a banner that proclaims "Bint Jbeil: The Frontier of Our Soul." The Web site's content is a blend of political analysis and historical and practical information about the area.
The site's electronic counter has recorded more than five million visitors since June 2000, and its message board contains recent postings from around the world.
Several posters, like Mohamad Baydoun from Germany, have expressed their solidarity with the people of Bint Jbeil. On July 22, Baydoun submitted a message saying, "Allah Akbar â€¦ You will stay [in] Bint Jbeilâ€¦ Please don't give up."
On Monday, IDF ground forces entered Bint Jbeil in an effort to dismantle Hizbullah capabilities. The village, which is located on a hill overlooking several roads, is close to Lebanon's border with Israel.
According to the Bint Jbeil Web site, which references the official roster of the 2000 Lebanese Parliamentary elections, there are 15,316 registered voters in the area.
The Web site - which was clearly built in more peaceful times - depicts a village of stone buildings, curving alleyways, rolling meadows and stark minarets.
Visitors interested in the village's political leanings won't find obvious clues like hypertext Hizbullah flags. Instead, the site contains links to articles and op-eds appealing to a cross-section of the Arab world, and much of its content also appears in French and English.
Mohamed Bazzi, a 20-year-old student who emigrated with his parents from Bint Jbeil to Australia when he was a baby, said that he was a frequent visitor to the site, and found himself looking through the posted photographs of the village. "[The site] hasn't been updated in a while," he said. "It's entirely possible that [the webmaster] isn't even alive."
Bint Jbeil's webmaster did not respond to e-mail messages sent by The Jerusalem Post by press time.
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