Daily Israel Report

PA Arabs Demand Removal of Cellphone Antenna Towers

PA residents are demanding that the High Court order cellphone companies to remove antennas that endanger drivers and residents
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/17/2013, 4:52 PM

Cell phone (illustrative)
Cell phone (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority residents, via their attorneys, are demanding that the High Court order Israel's cellphone companies to remove antennas they say were illegally placed on private land or homes belonging to PA Arabs. The petition demands the removal of about 100 antennas belonging to Cellcom, Orange, and Pelephone, the three cellphone companies that maintain the cell infrastructure in Israel.

The petition states that, besides being placed on private land without compensating owners, the antennas are a health risk. The petition follows the structure of similar petitions brought by Israelis, who demand the removal of antennas from their neighborhoods over concerns about potential radiation associated with cellphone signals.

A report on Army Radio Tuesday said that Communications Minister Gilad Erdan has asked Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to declare the cellphone network in Judea and Samaria as an “essential security need.” Such a declaration would protect the system from a court order to dismantle the towers.

Samaria Council chairman Gershon Mesika said that the cellphone network was indeed an essential security need. “For a long time, there have been areas of Judea and Samaria that have no cellphone coverage at all, and in those areas, victims of security incidents cannot call for help,” he said. “Anyone with a modicum of intelligence realizes that there are security concerns on the roads in Judea and Samaria” and that drivers need to be able to call for help when needed.

Communications Ministry director Moti Shamila said that “the cellphone infrastructure is an essential infrastructure in general, especially in Judea and Samaria. We must preserve the antennas in their current locations, and construct additional antennas in order to expand coverage,” he added.