(10/25/2001) Tensions between Isreal and Palestine have been at a fever pitch for decades. Following the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, many experts believed these tensions may have led to the attacks and speculated that the Palestinian Liberation Organization may have had some involvement. This bit of misinformation about a billing mistake was circulating before September 11, but has understandably seen a revival since.
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I read in this week's Jewish Press that Sprint is replacing any notations to "Israel" on bills with "Palestine" in an effort to court Arab business. In fact, my friend's cousin just received his long distance bill from Sprint, and sure enough all the calls that he made to Israel are listed under "Palestine". When he called Sprint to complain, he was told that there was nothing they could do about it. I am going to cancel my Sprint long distance service, and I will let them know exactly why! Please pass this information on to your friends and family. Thanks.
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No need to cancel your long distance service just yet. Snopes.com reports that this rumor is based on an isolated error and has since been corrected. The International Telecommunications Union designated country code 970 as "Palestinian National Authority," the territory in the West Bank and Gaza. Unfortunately, in some areas, Sprint mistakenly listed 970 as "Palestine." Before the assignment of 970, Gaza and the West Bank fell under country code 972, assigned to Israel, thus creating the belief of many that Sprint had "replaced" Israel with Palestine. Calls placed to the 972 area code are still listed as Israel, and 972 is now properly reported as "Palestinian Authority." Break this Chain.