Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Ishac Sidr today accused Israel of violating Palestinian sovereignty and control over its territory after a decision was made to grant the Israeli telecommunications company, Bezeq, a license to operate in the occupied West Bank.
He said during a press conference held at the Ministry in Ramallah that granting an Israeli telecommunication company a permit to work in the West Bank is a violation of Palestinian sovereignty and international law, noting that this is a clear theft considering that these are occupied territories.
He said losses to the Palestinian companies as a result of the Israeli violation have reached $1.1 billion in the last four years, while losses to the Palestinian treasury amounted to $400 million.
Sidr said that there should be a global campaign to pressure international organization to grant Palestinians their right to have 4G and even 5G of broadband cellular network technologies so Palestine can finally have a sustainable development, equal to other countries.
The Minister pointed out that Israel facilitates the work of Israeli telecommunication companies in the occupied territories, which provide lower prices, despite the illegality of this step, thus infringing on the operation and rights of the Palestinian companies in their territories.
He said that there are currently no serious international efforts to prevent Israel from committing such violations, noting that Palestine, therefore, will file a lawsuit in Palestinian, Israeli, and international courts against the Israeli move for infiltrating and stealing the Palestinian market.
Sidr called on Israel to cooperate with Palestinian companies so they can provide service in the border areas as well, noting that the telecommunication sector is one of the most important sectors and should be improved to compete with Israeli companies.
The Minister said the WIFI service and networks will be worked on in Palestinian cities and villages to compete with non-Palestinian networks, in a way that improves Palestinian networks.
Senan Shaqdeh, activist and journalist in the US, said via a video call that as long as Israel is the backbone of the telecommunications sector in the region, Palestinians will not be able to develop, describing granting Bezeq a license to operate in the West Bank as a licensed theft of Palestinian airwaves.
He said that this contradicts with several international charters, citing the Charter of the United Nations as an example.
He called on holding boycott campaigns that shed the lights on Israeli violations in the education and health sectors, and target companies that work with Bezeq.
A few days ago, the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology condemned in a statement the decision to grant the Israeli telecommunications company, Bezeq, a license to operate in the occupied West Bank, considering it a step to undermine and sabotage the Palestinian economy and its control over its airwaves.
It said that Israel manipulates the Palestinian airwaves and illegally establishes communication towers in the Palestinian territories in contrast to bilateral and international agreements.