Friday, 14 June 2013

Gaza's tech boom: 'ICT represents hope for us'

After getting a business licence just one month ago, one of Gaza's 2D animation software companies has already secured six contracts with international companies, including one in Canada.

This is a big deal for Mustafa Abu Ramar, 25, and his partner, who founded Cat Shadow: they live in the Gaza Strip, which since 2007 has been subject to travel and trade restrictions, making international business very difficult.

"I feel like I was in darkness. I could do the programming, I could do the animation - but this opportunity is very good for me," he told Channel 4 News.

Mr Ramar is among the 2,000 ICT (information and communications technology) graduates in Gaza each year, part of a growing community of programmers and developers who see technology as a way to work across borders - and the blockade.

Mohmmed Ferwana, 22, another graduate, is using Microsoft Kinect motion sensor software to develop Teacher Assist, an educational product for teachers and pupils.

"ICT represents hope for us," he told Channel 4 News. "If you have your laptop and fairly good internet connection, you're good to go.

"Even if you can't sell [your software] in Gaza, you can sell online. That's why it's the new thing around here." more

Gaza man seriously injured in self-immolation attempt

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two brothers on Friday sustained injuries in the Gaza Strip after a self-immolation attempt to protest the destruction of a family-owned factory.

Ibrahim al-Tartouri poured gasoline over his body and set himself ablaze, while his brother, Mohamed, was injured trying to help him.

“Family members helped put the fire out,” their father told Ma’an. “Ibrahim was seriously injured, and Mohamed suffered moderate injuries.”

He said his son was protesting the government’s decision to demolish a building and build a mosque in its place. more

UK minister Burt visits Gaza: “Palestinian state without Gaza is inconceivable”

UK Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, travelled to the Gaza Strip on Thursday 13th June, to complete his trip to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a press release.

Minister Burt first visited an agricultural area north of Beit Lahia to see for himself the impact of movement and access restrictions on the livelihoods of Gazan farmers living in the buffer zone adjacent to the border with Israel. He was briefed by the UK-supported Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) about the legal services it provides to these communities to help them protect their rights to housing, land and property.

Minister Burt also met Palestinian businessmen, with whom he discussed the political and economic climate in Gaza, including the impact of the ongoing divide between the West Bank and Gaza and the severe impact of movement and access restrictions on the Gazan economy. more

Report: Israel finds tunnels under West Bank wall

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's army has uncovered two tunnels under the separation wall, used by Palestinians to enter Israel from the West Bank, Israeli media reported Friday.

The tunnels were found under the wall near al-Tayba village in the northern West Bank, the Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported.

Soldiers found two Palestinians trying to enter Israel through the tunnels, according to Maariv.

In the Gaza Strip, a tunnel network runs under the border with Egypt to smuggle goods into the blockaded enclave. more