Palestinian gov't to probe violations of Israeli cellphone towers in West Bank

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-15 19:51:19|Editor: xuxin
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RAMALLAH, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian government announced on Tuesday that a committee has been formed to investigate the impact of the Israeli cellphone towers built in the West Bank.

A government statement said the committee will work on "documenting the violations" of Israeli cellphone towers in the West Bank and assessing "its impact," in order to enact resolutions of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) relevant to Palestine's control over its resources.

Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel of restricting the Palestinian telecommunications sector under security and economic pretexts.

Palestinian officials say Israeli telecommunications companies are deliberately flooding the Palestinian market with Israeli cellphone SIM cards to provide Palestinian customers with competitive offers of internet data and phone calls that Palestinian companies cannot provide, covering a wide area that Israel imposes control over inside the West Bank.

Official Palestinian data show Israeli telecommunications companies have made more than 150 million U.S. dollars of profit from Palestinian users who make up around 20 percent of their clients.

Under the interim Oslo accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli government in 1993, the frequencies were to remain under Israel's control till the end of the interim period, which was supposed to be in 1999.

However, no final deal was reached between the two sides, and frequencies and telecommunications-related matters have remained unresolved.

The ITU decided in September 2012 to send a fact finding mission over Israel's refusal to allow Palestinians to advance utilization of frequencies, but the decision was never implemented.

As of 2018, the Palestinian telecommunications companies were still only allowed to provide 3G internet data by Israel.