Daily Israel Report

Arab League Slams Plans For a Wireless Jerusalem

First Publish: 8/27/2004, 2:12 PM / Last Update: 8/26/2004, 11:07 PM

In a bizarre move, the Arab League issued a condemnation Tuesday of the Jerusalem municipality’s project to turn Israel’s capital city into the world’s first city with complete wireless internet capability.

According to SANA, the official Syrian news agency, the Arab League says the project to make Jerusalem wireless fidelity-enabled (WiFi) accessible threatens the Arab identity of the city.

The Arab League issued a statement Tuesday saying, “the project aims at imposing a de facto [sic] on the city in a way that serves the Israeli interests under the pretext of encouraging the foreign investments.”

The statement added that the WiFi project, along with all of Israel’s policies, “contradicts not only the international law and resolutions but also reflect no desire in realizing the just and comprehensive peace in the region.”

The Municipality of Jerusalem, together with Intel and Compumat Computers, is embarking on a project to make Israel's capital the world's first WiFi accessible city, according to a Globes report. The organizers expect that within two years, users in most areas of the city will be able to surf the internet wirelessly. The WiFi connection will be free of charge throughout at least the first year. The unobtrusive WiFi transmitters installed throughout the city will enable an internet connection of up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps) at a distance of 1000-1600 feet.

The Jerusalem WiFi Project will be implemented in two stages. The first stage will be the installation of hot spots, where WiFi hardware is installed and user reception is optimal, at central points throughout the city. These will include Ben-Yehuda Street in downtown Jerusalem, the Hutzot HaYotzer artist quarter, the Nahalat Shiva neighborhood, Safra Square, the Malcha shopping mall, and Emek Refaim St. The second stage will see parks, schools, government offices and the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus go wireless.