Israelis and Palestinians have reportedly ceased hostilities for a couple of days in order to work together in the laying of 15 fibre-optic cables aimed at bringing the first high-speed internet service to Gaza. According to The Jerusalem Post, over the two-day period work was carried out along a half a kilometre stretch of the Gaza fence to install the infrastructure, but it is understood that it will take a further two weeks before the service is actually up and running. Major Adam Avidan, head of the foreign relations department for the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration to the Gaza Strip was cited as saying of the development: ‘It will allow Gazans to connect to the world, and hopefully to peace.’
Presently, Palestinians in Gaza are using an old internet system dating back to the 1990s, and the new equipment is expected to increase reliability and enhance speed. A number of parties were involved in the venture, including Palestinian fixed line incumbent Paltel and Israeli cableco HOT Telecommunication Systems. With the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration also involved in the project, which was funded by Paltel, ahead of the work actually being carried out, a number of meetings were held between the parties with a view to co-ordination, while ensuring security measures were in place to protect workers.