File - Palestinian men look at mobile phones displayed under the logo of the Al-Wataniya Palestine phone company at a shop in the West Bank city of Jenin after Israel permitted it to operate on October 14, 2009. (AFP PHOTO/SAIF DAHLAH)
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The boss of a telecoms company accused Israel of using sanctions to hold the Palestinian economy hostage after the Jewish state stopped his firm from importing equipment to launch services in Gaza.Wataniya Palestine had imported 40 percent of the equipment it needed to launch a mobile service – considered a driver of economic growth – before Israel last week tightened restrictions on Palestine. It is still waiting for further spectrum to provide 3G services in the territory, and Israel has halted talks on that as part of the sanctions, Husseini said.Israel, which occupied the West Bank in a 1967 war, controls the airwaves of the territory, and Palestinian firms' lack of 3G is a constraint on its technology sector while Israel's soars. 3G SIM cards for Israeli operators are being sold there illegally, Husseini said.Husseini urged the Palestinian Authority to extend and amend Wataniya's 15-year license to allow for the restrictions it has faced, and said the remaining $214 million it owes on its $354 million license fee should be waived.
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