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Abstract -- Internet's Role in Middle-East Development: Palestinian Perspective Regional Track
R8: Middle East/North Africa

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Internet's Role in Middle-East Development: Palestinian Perspective

Zougbi, Saleem G. ( saleem@bethlehem.edu)


A serious and long study of the impact of information exchange through Internetworking has been going on for sometime in the occupied Palestinian Territories. This paper is a discussion of the issue based on field study, interviews, observations and opinionated discourse modelled after Palestinian individuals who are keen about networking.

Considering the recent political developments in the Middle East, and the significance of information exchange in development and planning, the role of Internet in this region faces a unique and a very sensitive challenge. The Internet could be a major resource for developmental planning through mission oriented networks, empowering new users, and providing for sociological and cultural development.

Such role requires national and regional initiatives. The actual impact of Internet would be greatly felt if certain factors and considerations are addressed properly. These include many socio-economic, political, and of course, technical factors. In this paper, these factors are discussed from both ends: the Internet point of view, and the Mid-eastern user point of view. In particular, the following are exposed:

  1. A review of the status and initiatives in networking in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
  2. Presentation of an intellectual and opinionated exposure of potential networking developments, and impact of Internet on Palestinian life in all domains (educational, developmental, health, academic, cultural, sociological, economic, etc.)
  3. Identify constraints, problems, and resources that would affect the development pragmatically, and present two scenarios which describes the worst and the best cases.
  4. Present a possible framework or suggestion by which technical assistance could be applied to maximum advantage in providing progress on the Palestinian level, and on the regional level.