For its refusal to serve customers in the Palestinian territories, British politicians including those from the Labour, Conservative and Scottish National parties, have joined a US campaign group and hundreds of Palestinian nationals to call for their access to PayPal.
In a motion tabled before the British parliament, the politicians called on PayPal to expand its service to Palestinians and their banks as “a move which has the opportunity to make a positive contribution to Palestinians and their economy and alleviate the high rates of unemployment.”
They noted that the worldwide online payment system is not available to use for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, despite its being available to users in Israel and Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank.
PayPal operates in over 200 other countries worldwide including Somalia and Yemen.
US-based campaign group called Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (A4VPE) had last month written an open letter to PayPal President and CEO Daniel H. Schulman asking him to extend PayPal’s services to Palestinians in the territories and remove a major limitation on the Palestinian technology sector.
This view was echoed by the British politicians who cite the restriction as a “significant obstacle to many Palestinian individuals and businesses, who are unable to use this trusted and reliable global service for conducting monetary transactions…”
They say the barrier hinders the Palestinian economy as a whole, including the IT sector which has real potential to thrive particularly as its economy is closely tied to the global and UK markets.
A4VPE says PayPal has the opportunity to make a significant contribution toward alleviating the destabilizing unemployment rates of over 25% in the West Bank and 40% in PayPal .
PayPal issued a statement to Motherboard saying it is continuously working “to develop strategic partnerships, address business feasibility, regulatory, and compliance needs and requirements, and acquire the necessary local authority permissions for new market entries.”
But it says it has nothing to announce for the immediate future with regards the Palestinian community’s interest in PayPal.
However, it didn’t comment on suggestions that the decision to not enter the Palestinian market may be down to political reasons.
One source, who works closely with the A4VPE campaign, suggested to Motherboard that PayPal employed ex-Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) intelligence officers who “may be opposed to [PayPal’s Palestinian expansion] for reasons that have little to do with business interests.”
Palestinians are eager to work around any issues and get PayPal opened up in Palestine.