• Population: about 3,500,000
  • Internet users: 175,000 (2003)
  • Average charge for 20 hours of connection: 14 euros
  • DAI*: unknown
  • Situation**: middling

The Internet had grown very rapidly in the Palestinian Territories in recent years. More than 5 per cent of the population has regular access, rather more than in neighbouring countries, despite lack of economic progress (80 per cent of Gaza Strip inhabitants live in poverty).

Internet growth is mainly due to the political situation. People are cut off from normal contact with the outside because of the conflict with Israel so they go online to get a window on the world. Since few students can physically go to university, they use the Internet to exchange material and continue their studies online.

The Internet is also used to read the foreign and even Israeli media, with the left-wing Israeli daily Haaretz one of the most popular. The Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian news site, is also consulted a lot (50,000 visitors a week). People use e-mail to swap views and photos about current events and communicate with the diaspora. Many see the Internet as a way to break their political isolation.

Most Palestinians go online through cybercafés, which are sometimes set up in people's homes and charge about 70 eurocents an hour. The country has 26 ISPs, 15 of them with official permits. There is no reported censorship of online activity.


* The DAI (Digital Access Index) has been devised by the International Telecommunications Union to measure the access of a country's inhabitants to information and communication technology. It ranges from 0 (none at all) to 1 (complete access).

** Assessment of the situation in each country (good, middling, difficult, serious) is based on murders, imprisonment or harassment of cyber-dissidents or journalists, censorship of news sites, existence of independent news sites, existence of independent ISPs and deliberately high connection charges.


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