ICT: The shackled engine of Palestine’s development
In the summer of 2015 reports surfaced that Israel and the Palestinian Authority were set to sign an agreement on releasing the long awaited frequencies required for Third and perhaps even Fourth Generation (3G and 4G) systems and services. By November, those plans were reportedly still going ahead. It remains to be seen whether the negotiations are affected by the widespread Palestinian revolt against Israel’s prolonged military occupation and denial of the most basic human rights.
It was unclear why Israel had suddenly decided to be so forthcoming after tightly controlling the information and communication technology (ICT) sector since the occupation began in 1967 while reaping billions of dollars in the process, all in violation of international law. Perhaps Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to revive his long-standing efforts to promote “economic peace” in lieu of a political settlement that would fulfill Palestinian rights. What is clear is that the Palestinian economy has paid a high cost for its inability to exploit its own ICT resources.