Subject: Request for Delegation of .ps
Date: 22 March 2000
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated
with management of the domain-name system root, is responsible
for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level
domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests,
and reporting on the requests. In early 1997, the IANA received
a request for delegation of a top-level domain for Palestine.
That request was initially declined, but was renewed in October
1999. This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA
on its investigation of these requests.
Factual and Procedural Background
In February 1997, the IANA received inquiries
about the possibility of delegating a country-code top-level
domain (ccTLD) for Palestine.
Country-code top-level domains in the Internet
domain-name system are designated by two-letter codes ("alpha-2
codes") shown on the ISO
3166-1 list maintained by the ISO
3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA). That list consists
of codes given in the UN Bulletin "Country Names" and
in the code list of the "Standard Country or Area Codes
for Statistical Use." There is also provision for assignment
of codes by the Maintenance Agency in certain limited circumstances
in response to a request of the affected national government
or national standards body. The ISO 3166-1 list is used worldwide
in many applications involving coded information concerning names
of countries and of physically separated dependent territories.
At the time of the 1997 inquiries, no code
for Palestine was included on the ISO 3166-1 list. Instead, in
November 1995 the United Nations Statistics Division had included
the name "Palestine" on an interim list of area names
and, in response, the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency agreed to set
aside the alpha-2 code "ps" to represent the name "Palestine"
in the event a later decision was made to include Palestine on
the ISO 3166-1 list. In practical effect, such a reservation
means that the code reserved should not be used to refer to any
other country, territory, or region. In April 1996 the Maintenance
Agency formally moved the "ps" code to its list
of reserved code elements under the category of "exceptional
reservations." At that time, it did not assign the "ps"
code to Palestine on the ISO 3166-1 list.
Because no code for Palestine was then
on the ISO 3166-1 list, in May 1997, the IANA declined to delegate
a ccTLD to Palestine.
In April 1998 the IANA indicated that it
would delegate the second-level domain "palestine.int,"
based on Palestine's Status as a Permanent Observer to the United
Nations. The IANA noted that this registration was to be "in
lieu of a current top level domain for Palestine and would eventually
be transferred to the top level domain when the TLD is accepted
by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency."
Dr Ghassan Z. Qadah, the Supervisor-General
of the Government
Computer Center in Palestine as well as the Senior Advisor
for Technology to the Palestine Ministry of Planning and International
Cooperation, was proposed to become the designated administrative
contact for palestine.int. On 14 May 1998, after investigation
showed overwhelming community support for this appointment, the
IANA delegated palestine.int, with Dr Qadah named as administrative
contact and Dr Yaser Dolah named as technical contact. The palestine.int
domain has been in operation since, being used in a limited way
for a governmental-purposes third-level domain (gov.palestine.int).
In summer 1999, the United Nations Statistics
Division notified the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency that it had
included "Occupied Palestinian Territory" on the United
Nations list of Standard Country and Area Codes for Statistical
Use. On 30 September 1999, the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency announced
that effective 1 October 1999 it was adding the alpha-2 code
"ps" to the ISO 3166-1 list to designate "Occupied
On 11 October 1999, Drs Qadah and Doleh
applied to the IANA for delegation of the .ps top-level domain.
Dr Qadah is a computer scientist with a specialty in database
algorithms and, as noted above, has headed the Government Computer
Center for the Palestinian Authority for several years. Dr Doleh,
who resides in New York State, USA, holds a PhD in computer science
from Kent State and has done work in system-independent user
On 2 February 2000, Dr Nabeel Shaath, Minister
of Planning & International Cooperation of the Palestinian
Authority, wrote to the IANA stating that his ministry and the
Government Computer Center had been entrusted with receiving,
managing, operating, and regulating the Palestinian top-level
The IANA has conducted a follow-up to its
earlier investigation of the proposed managers, including a review
of the Government Computer Center's plans to establish the Palestinian
Network Information Center to manage the .ps top-level domain.
The IANA finds the plan to be technically sound and to be well-suited
to meet the needs of academic, commercial, governmental, and
other existing and future Internet users in Palestine. The Government
Computer Center is the only information-technology planning unit
in Palestine, having led the Y2K campaign there, and has contributed
substantially to making the Internet available in Palestine.
The IANA's follow-up investigation turned up nothing to show
a diminution in the previously observed community support for
the applicants serving as trustees for the community as designated
managers of a domain for Palestine.
This report is being provided under the
9 February 2000 contract
for performance of the IANA function between the United States
Government and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers. Under that contract, the IANA is responsible for receiving
delegation requests, investigating the circumstances pertinent
to those requests, and reporting on the requests.
The policies currently followed in connection
with the delegation of Internet top-level domains are summarized
in "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation"
was issued in May 1999 to reflect "the current policies
being followed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
in administering delegations of Top Level Domain Names of the
Internet Domain Names System (DNS)." ICP-1 represents an
update of the portions of RFC
1591 (which was issued in March 1994) dealing with ccTLDs,
to reflect evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through
May 1999. Although there is ongoing consideration within the
ICANN process of proposals for changes in policies concerning
ccTLDs, no significant policies have yet been adopted that are
at variance with ICP-1.
The delegation request raises two principal
issues: (a) should a .ps ccTLD be delegated and, (b) if so, are
the proposed managers the appropriate ones.
A. The .ps top-level
domain should be delegated.
A threshold issue is whether a .ps top-level
should be delegated at all, in view of Palestine's special status.
This issue is answered by section
(i) of ICP-1, which makes the ISO
3166-1 table the authoritative reference as to which ccTLDs
are subject to delegation. Assessments regarding sovereignty
and nationhood are not among the IANA's functions. Indeed, many
of the alpha-2 codes included on the ISO 3166-1 list, for which
ccTLDs have been established and delegated, are plainly not "countries"
at all, but are instead dependencies of other countries. Examples
Island and McDonald Islands (.hm) (a territory of Australia),
Antilles (.an) (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands),
Rico (.pr) (a commonwealth associated with the US). A top-level
domain for Antarctica
(.aq), which also appears on the ISO 3166-1 list, has also been
established and delegated.
Because the IANA is not in the business
of assessing whether or not particular areas are "countries,"
the policy set forth in ICP-1 and RFC 1591 for delegation matters
has been to avoid political considerations and simply refer to
the ISO 3166-1 list as an independent source of two-letter abbreviations
for countries and areas. The ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, in
determining which countries and areas should be provided codes
on the ISO 3166-1 list, looks to two other lists provided by
Nations Statistics Division. As noted
by the Statistics Division in connection with its listing of
countries and areas: "The designations employed and the
presentation of country or area names in this list do not imply
the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat
of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country,
territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning
the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries." Thus,
it is well-settled under current delegation policy that issues
about the legal status of a listed entry on the ISO 3166-1 list
are not pertinent to whether a ccTLD should be established and
After over two years of deliberations,
the United Nations Statistics Division and the ISO 3166 Maintenance
Agency have determined that a code should be provided for the
Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the code .ps code has been
added to the ISO 3166-1 list. Thus, a crucial change in circumstances
has occurred since this matter first arose in early 1997. Then,
although .ps was included as an "exceptional reservation"
for possible future inclusion on the ISO 3166-1 code list, it
was not actually included on that list. The IANA's policy is
to delegate ccTLDs only from the ISO 3166-1 list, so that in
1997 .ps did not meet that requirement for delegation. The ISO
3166-1 list now includes .ps, and accordingly that code now qualifies
for delegation as a ccTLD.
(A few of the currently delegated ccTLDs
do not appear on the ISO 3166-1 list. The United Kingdom was
assigned the ccTLD
.uk in the mid-1980s
even though ISO 3166-1 calls for use of .gb. This assignment
occurred before the IANA began using any standard list of country-code
abbreviations. During a brief period in 1996, the IANA followed
the policy of delegating ccTLDs not only from the ISO 3166-1
list but also from codes the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency had
reserved specifically for purposes of the Universal Postal Union.
That policy proved unsatisfactory and was quickly abandoned in
favor of strict adherence to the ISO 3166-1 list. Finally, a
few ccTLDs that were established from the ISO 3166-1 list were
later deleted from that list. An example is the ccTLD for Zaire,
B. The applicants
are the appropriate managers of the .ps top-level domain.
A fundamental principle reflected in ICP-1
is that ccTLDs are intended to be operated for the benefit of
the Internet community in the nation or other territory with
which the country-code is associated. As Dr Postel wrote in RFC
1591 (and as reiterated
The designated manager is the trustee of
the top-level domain for both the nation, in the case of a country
code, and the global Internet community. Concerns about "rights"
and "ownership" of domains are inappropriate. It is
appropriate, however, to be concerned about "responsibilities"
and "service" to the community.
Thus, in ccTLD-delegation matters, the
IANA seeks input from persons concerned or affected by the transfer,
particularly those within the nation or territory which the ccTLD
has been established to benefit.
ICP-1 gives the following
guidance concerning requirements for delegation of a ccTLD:
(a) Delegation of a New Top Level Domain.
Delegation of a new top level domain requires the completion
of a number of procedures, including the identification of a
TLD manager with the requisite skills and authority to operate
the TLD appropriately. The desires of the government of a country
with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously.
The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer
discussions. Significantly interested parties in the domain should
agree that the proposed TLD manager is the appropriate party.
The key requirement is that for each domain there be a designated
manager for supervising that domain's name space. In the case
of ccTLDs, this means that there is a manager that supervises
the domain names and operates the domain name system in that
country. There must be Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity to
the nameservers and electronic mail connectivity to the entire
management, staff, and contacts of the manager. There must be
an administrative contact and a technical contact for each domain.
The administrative contact must reside in the country involved
for ccTLDs. . . .
Here, Drs Qadah and Doleh possess the skills
and authority to operate the .ps TLD appropriately. Both are
accomplished computer scientists. They have operated the palestine.int
domain competently. Dr Qadah is Supervisor-General of the Government
Computer Center and has obtained the authority to commit that
organization's resources to providing reliable nameservice for
the ccTLD. The Palestinian Authority has given its support to
his operation of the ccTLD. Dr Qadah and the Government Computer
Center have contributed significantly to development of the Internet
in Palestine, and their assuming stewardship over the domain
should further promote availability and use of the Internet in
Palestine. This has earned them support from the Internet community
in Palestine, as well as the strong support of the Palestinian
The IANA is satisfied that Drs Qadah and
Doleh recognize the solemn nature of the trust they seek to assume
and that they intend to operate the .ps ccTLD in the interest
of both the Internet community in Palestine and those throughout
the world who are or may in the future be affected by the operation
of the .ps TLD. In this regard, the IANA notes that Dr Qadah
has indicated that the Government Computer Center and the Palestinian
Authority will work with ICANN in accordance with global norms
The IANA has verified IP connectivity to
the proposed nameservers and e-mail connectivity to the contacts.
Dr Qadah, the proposed administrative contact, resides in Palestine.
It is the IANA's conclusion that the .ps
top-level domain should be delegated as requested, naming the
Government Computer Center as the designated organization, Dr
Ghassan Qadah as the designated administrative contact, and Dr
Yaser Doleh as the designated technical contact.