Friday, September 4, 2009

An Update on Wataniya’s Situation

The Wataniya controversy has reached a boiling point and the story has now been covered by Reuters and mentioned on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal.

In a recent statement, Wataniya's CEO said that his company will sue for millions in damages on Sept. 15 unless the Israeli government, which controls the airwaves in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, immediately provides 4.8 MHz of promised frequency spectrum.

After multiple delays, the Israeli government has provided the Palestinian government with 3.8 MHz of frequency for Wataniya’s use. This is less than the 4.8 MHz it was promised in an intricate contract signed between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in July of 2008.

Both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority insist that they have fulfilled their contractual obligations, and a Sept. 2 meeting in Tel Aviv between the two sides yielded no breakthroughs.

Middle East Envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has pressed Israel to release the full 4.8 MHz, arguing that this will bolster the more moderate government of Mahmoud Abbas and grow the fragile Palestinian economy.