State Dept. launches IT initiative in Palestinian areas


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Six major information technology companies signed onto a U.S. State Department initiative to develop the sector in Palestinian areas.

"This initiative is designed to enhance Palestinian economic capacity in the information communications technology (ICT) sector by facilitating partnerships between Palestinian ICT companies and U.S. multinational companies, particularly those with operations in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, and the broader Middle East," said a State Department statement Dec. 17, the day of its launch. "This initiative, modeled on successful ventures by U.S. companies, also seeks to strengthen the Palestinian private sector by encouraging broader economic growth, development and job creation for Palestinians."

The six companies include Cisco, Google, Hewlett Packard, Medcor, and Intel through its Israel subsidiary.

The program, called the Palestinian Information Communications Technology Capacity Building Initiative, will be run by the U.S. Agency for International Development and Partners for a New Beginning, an Obama administration initiative that joins the State Department, the Aspen Institute think tank and Coca-Cola in building "public-private partnerships" in Muslim countries.

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