Wednesday, 21 January 2015

In Gaza, an IT company has Google-sized aspirations

(Reuters) - His company may not rival Google or German software maker SAP yet, but Gaza-based IT entrepreneur Saady Lozon has plans to change that.

In nine years, Lozon and his partner Ahmed Abu Shaban have transformed their firm, Unit One, from a tiny outfit in a single room in the blockaded Gaza Strip into a successful business with clients in Europe, the United States and the Arab world.

They can't leave Gaza easily, but they can develop applications for Web and mobile devices online and provide international clients with data-management services, competing with firms in India and elsewhere.

"We have managed to knock a hole in the wall of the blockade," Lozon, 33, said of the company, which will soon expand to more than 60 employees from 13, the majority women. "We deliver in time, just as the client wishes."

Lozon and Abu Shaban came up with the idea after graduating with degrees in computer science. Lozon worked briefly as an IT contractor for the United Nations and quickly realized he would rather run a company of his own.

They won their first client after making a pitch via Skype and offering a free trial. They borrowed money from friends to buy computers and slowly expanded. The firm now occupies two apartments on the 5th floor of a building in a smart district of Gaza overlooking the Mediterranean. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure Gaza fisherman

Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman in Gaza on Wednesday, the head of a local union said.

Nizar Ayyash told Ma'an that Atef Muhammad Baker, 19, was shot in the foot after Israeli naval boats opened fire at fishing boats off Gaza's northern coast.

The fishermen were within the Israeli-imposed fishing zone at the time of the incident, Ayyash added.

Baker was taken to hospital for treatment.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said several vessels deviated from the designated fishing zone and Israeli forces opened fire after they failed to respond to warning shots. more

Eighteen Palestinians kidnapped in Nablus and Hebron by Occupation soldiers

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, several Palestinian communities in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, and the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and kidnapped 18 Palestinians. Many residents injured near Jenin.

The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that dozens of military vehicles invaded the Balata and ‘Askar Al-Jadeed refugee camps, in Nablus, and kidnapped twelve Palestinians.

WAFA said the soldiers ransacked dozens of homes in the two refugee camps while searching them, interrogated families, and detonated the main door of one of the raided homes, belonging to former political prisoner, Bashir Hashash.

It added that some of the invaded homes belong to Palestinian security and police officers.

The kidnapped in Balata have been identified as Ayman Kharma, Mohammad Tirawi, Mohammad Saqer, Shaher an-Najma, Mahmoud Abu ‘Ayyash, Mohammad Ali Hashash, and ‘Ammar Mit’eb, Abdul-SalamAbu Rezeq. In ‘Askar, the soldiers kidnapped Kamal Abu Seryya, Hasan al-Ashqar, Sameh Abu Keshek, and Mojahed Mashayekh.

In addition, soldiers invaded Doura and Beit Ummar town, and the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, in Hebron, and kidnapped six Palestinians after breaking into their homes and violently searching them. more

Palestinian stabs passengers on Tel Aviv bus

A Palestinian wounded at least five passengers in a stabbing rampage on a Tel Aviv bus on Wednesday, before being shot by a passing prison officer, Israeli police said.

The attacker struck in the morning rush hour in the heart of Israel's largest city, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Five people were moderately to seriously wounded, while four were lightly injured, she said, citing emergency services at the scene.

Israel's Ynet news site put the number of injured at 17.

It was not immediately clear if all the casualties had been stabbed or if they included some suffering from shock. more