Under the auspices of his Excellency Dr. Mashhoor Abu Dakka, minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology, the Palestinian e-Government Interoperability Framework “Zinnar” was released in a dedicated workshop with the participation of all ministries and governmental institutions in addition to the Palestinian private sector.
Zinnar (http://zinnar.pna.ps) was developed by six ministries and governmental institutions: Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology (MTIT), Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of National Economy (MNE), Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). The Palestinian eGoverment academy plays a consultancy role to the Zinnar committee throught the participation of Dr. Mustafa Jarrar involvement as a chair of this committee Zinnar serves as an organizational/semantic mediator between heterogeneous governmental information systems and is also seen as a framework/infrastructure upon which seamless e-government services are implemented.
During his speech, Dr. Abu Dakka acknowledged the role of all institutions which collaborated in the development of Zinnar. His Excellency also referred to the importance of the framework in realizing the Palestinian e-Government, making the lives of the Palestinian citizens, private sector, and public sector easier, and in increasing the transparency of the Palestinian governmental institutions. In addition, Dr. Abu Dakka explained that the role of the Ministry of Telecommunication is merely a coordination role and that without the cooperation of all ministries and governmental institutions in Palestine, building an e-Government would not be possible.
During his presentation, Dr. Mustafa Jarrar, the chair of the National Interoperability Committee, explained the e-Government Interoperability Framework in more details and focused on the importance of e-Government in the Palestinian case. He explained that the provision of e-government services in Palestine is not a matter of ‘luxury’. On the contrary, e-government is considered a necessity in Palestine to tackle the challenges imposed by the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories in addition to the isolation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to Dr. Jarrar, e-government is also of great importance to the Palestinians in the diasporas (who form 70% of the people of Palestine).
After that, detailed presentations about Zinnar were provided by ministries of the National Interoperability Committee. During the presentations, the five components of Zinnar were explained in depth. These components are: (1) The Government Ontology, (2) the Entity Server, (3) the Address Server, (4) the Service Repository, and (5) the Database of State Databases. In addition, Public Consultation about Zinnar was officially launched, therefore making Zinnar available for the public domain consultation through a dedicated discussion forum (http://discussion.zinnar.pna.ps).
At the end of the workshop, a discussion panel was held to discuss the framework with the participants and request their recommendations. A significant number of participants suggested that the different governmental institutions start using ‘Zinnar’ not only to develop e-government services but also when developing new Information Systems in their institutions. Also, many of the participant institutions requested that such workshops would be held in their institutions in order to raise awareness, build capacities, and initiate the usage of “Zinnar”.
It is also worth mentioning here that Zinnar is one of the five frameworks necessary to build a complete Palestinian e-Government, which are: the infrastructure framework, Security Framework, Interoperability Framework, Legal Framework, and Policies Framework, each of which is being tackled by a different project. Initial releases of the Infrastructure and the Interoperability frameworks are available while the ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology is planning to release the Legal and Policies Frameworks soon. The security framework is currently being developed in cooperation with the Estonian Government.