ASAL Technologies is a software development house in Ramallah. They've done business with Cisco, Intel, HP, Microsoft and others.
Their FAQ page reveals a lot about how "pro-Palestinian" activists are in fact hurting the most skilled and creative Palestinians. Because in order to gain business abroad, ASAL has to convince potential customers that the propaganda that they have been hearing for decades is all wrong.
Can Palestinians travel?
Yes. Palestinians are able to travel to any part of the world. Provided with the proper and necessary documentation, Palestinians can acquire a visa and travel to any destination.
Do you have internet?
Yes. We do have internet and electricity. Over the past 60 years, the West Bank had not sustained any outages due to political reasons. Currently ASAL Technologies has two fiber optic cables from two different ISPs to ensure 24/7 internet connectivity. And short term plans are to move the headquarters of ASAL Technologies to Rawabi -the first Palestinian smart city- where the infrastructure of the whole city has been optimized to meet international standards.
Does the political situation affect your work?
No. Though it is hard to visualize if one hasn’t visited Palestine, the reality is that the political situation does not affect our ability to conduct business as usual with all of our clients. And to ensure that our employees can always access their workplace, we opened up a new branch in north of Palestine, and future plans are to open up yet another branch in the south.
The company also does business with Israeli companies, much to the chagrin of the BDSers:
Israel’s high-tech industry is among the country’s crowning achievements. Many Israeli tech firms send work offshore to Eastern Europe, India or China.This is what real peace looks like. And the people who support boycotts and labels and all the other anti-Israel initiatives are the ones who are working against peace - and against the very people whom they are pretending to care the most about.
In the past three years, however, some have turned to Palestinian engineers and programmers. They are cheaper, ambitious, work in the same time zone, and – surprisingly to many Israelis – are similar to them.
“The cultural gap is much smaller than we would think,” said Gai Anbar, chief executive of Comply, an Israeli start-up in this central Israeli town that develops software for global pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Teva.
Palestinian engineers have also warmed up to the idea. “I doubt you would find a company who says, ‘I am closed for business,” to Israelis, said Ala Alaeddin, chairman of the Palestinian Information Technology Association.
“We have a window of opportunity to demonstrate our skills,” said Murad Tahboub, CEO of Asal Technologies, a Palestinian outsourcing company that works with Comply and a handful of other Israeli-based companies. “The more people know about us … the more comfortable they will be in doing business with us.”
Unfortunately, Palestinian society is geared to silencing the voices of people like these workers -people who want to truly build their communities and are eager to work with Israelis to get it done.
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