World Bank urges Israel to allow Palestinians access to 4G
The West Bank only gained access to 3G in 2017, while the Gaza Strip is currently operating on mere 2G connectivity. Israel, however, is upgrading from 4G to 5G and are ensuring their illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank are also being upgraded.
Israel controls Palestinian frequencies and telecom infrastructure and limits their mobile internet speeds.
These restrictions are “among the key impediments to the development of the digital economy in the West Bank and Gaza,” the World Bank's report said.
The report slammed Israel for blocking the Palestinian Authority's "right to build and operate an independent telecommunications infrastructure”, adding that Palestinians who live in rural areas suffer the most because they are the most heavily dependent on their mobile data to stay connected to the rest of the world.
“The current consumption-led growth in the West Bank reflects a rebound from a low base in 2020, exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis," said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
"The economy still suffers from restrictions on movement, access, and trade-- the biggest impediment to investment and access to markets. It also lacks growth drivers for sustained positive impacts on the economy and quality of life," he said.
"The way ahead is still uncertain and depends on coordinated actions by all parties in revitalizing the economy and providing job opportunities for the young population.”