US tech giant Apple has announced the expansion of its Palestinian R&D center, an innovation hub that already employs 60 engineers in the Palestinian Authority city of Rawabi, according to local media outlets.
Since 2018, Apple has been operating this R&D center under the radar and helping to further Apple’s technological goals. The announcement of the Palestinian center came after a meeting between Apple SVP Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji – the most senior Israeli Apple official – and Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Following the announcement, Apple plans to grow the Palestinian site and continue to recruit Palestinian engineering talent.
When the site was first established, Apple partnered with Ramallah-based development contractor ASAL Technologies to recruit the first five Palestinian engineers for the Apple center. Now, the site employs over 60 engineers who collaborate with Apple teams in Haifa and Herzliya in crafting tools and products for developing hardware technologies. Apple’s Israeli centers have worked on the development of the M chip (to replace Apple’s Intel microchip processor), internal identification technology, data storage management technology for all the company’s products, and wireless technology for Apple watches.
ASAL Technologies also partners with several other US technology corporations seeking to find talented technology workers in the Palestinian Authority. Its partner companies include Intel and Microsoft.
The establishment of the Palestinian center also involved Palestinian-American billionaire Bashar Masri. Masri founded Rawabi, with assistance from Qatar, to provide accessible high-standard housing for young Palestinians. Masri is also involved in ASAL, as a member of the board of directors, and the Siraj Palestine Fund, which has raised more than $90 million for investment in the Palestinian Authority.