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Israel pledges to permit 4G cell service for Palestinians

i24NEWS

clock 3 min read

A Palestinian man works in a mobile phone shop in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 20, 2016.
Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90A Palestinian man works in a mobile phone shop in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 20, 2016.

The approval was presented during a recent closed-door meeting between telecommunications teams

Israel tentatively agreed to allow Palestinian cellular companies to establish fourth-generation mobile networks, allowing Palestinians to take advantage of a technology considered standard in much of the world.

The pledge is part of a series of steps to bolster the Palestinian Authority, The Times of Israel (ToI) reported.

According to Israeli and Palestinian officials, the approval was presented during a recent closed-door meeting between telecommunications teams. 

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“The 4G system will be available for Palestinians as soon as possible,” a senior Israeli official involved in the initiative said on condition of anonymity. 

“It has already been discussed and agreed upon.”

For years, Israel restricted Palestinian cellular providers from upgrading their networks, leaving many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza with significantly slower connections than those in the rest of the world.

The development comes as Israeli government officials aim to advance initiatives to improve Palestinian daily life, ToI reported.

Strengthening the Palestinian Authority - the interim self-government body that exercises partial civil control over the Gaza Strip and areas of the West Bank - will help maintain calm in the area, Israeli officials suggested.

On November 14, Israeli and Palestinian telecommunications teams held a private meeting where Israeli officials expressed approval for the 4G upgrade. 

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However, a Palestinian official said the Israelis informed them that a joint technical discussion would not begin until April 2022, according to ToI.

Palestinians in the West Bank were only permitted third-generation telecommunications in 2018, four years after Israel transitioned to 4G. 

In Gaza, Palestinian carriers only offer 2G services.