Palestinians urge PayPal to provide its services

Palestinian activists have accused PayPal of discrimination for not allowing Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to link their bank accounts to its digital payment platform.

PayPal did not respond to multiple requests agency Reuters to comment on the accusations and demands that Palestinians have access to its services within the framework of campaign Launched by the Palestinian Digital Rights Group 7amleh This month.

Local entrepreneurs say they missed opportunities after foreign clients learned they could not use PayPal to receive remittances, a service the payments giant offers to Israeli bank account holders, including settlers in the West Bank.

Website designer Rafik Hamwi said: With the service not working in Palestine, it is like another checkpoint preventing us from moving. This is in reference to the Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, which it occupied in the 1967 war.

Hamwi lost a website design contract after a potential client in Australia requested payment using PayPal. Not all means of isolating people from the world are material, he said.

And while Palestinians can use other means to receive money from abroad, such as Apple Pay and the global system for cross-border payments SWIFT, PayPal is the world leader in processing e-commerce payments, according to campaign group.

The group said in a report: Palestinians still lack the necessary access to financial markets to improve their economic situation without the freedom to use PayPal.

She added: It is still not clear why the company is reluctant to provide its services to Palestinians who have bank accounts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This may be an obvious way for the company to support economic development and equality in Palestine.

Read also: PayPal launches encryption service in the UK

PayPal accused of discrimination against Palestinians

Credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard operate. As well as money transfer companies such as Western Union. For years, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Monetary Authority has exercised oversight.

The PMA is part of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority that exercises limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank. Meanwhile, the Islamist movement Hamas – which the West considers a terrorist group – rules little Gaza.

The Palestinian Monetary Authority said it was taking steps to thwart fraud and money laundering in online payments.

These include implementing the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog on financial crimes.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Monetary Authority hinted that PayPal services could be available to the Palestinians in the near future.

He said: We are confident that the next few weeks may carry new news regarding PayPal services in Palestine. This is the result of our cooperation with interested international parties.

And with an unemployment rate approaching 17 percent in the West Bank and 48 percent in Gaza. Many Palestinians have turned to online freelancing or launching local digital projects to generate income.

The founders of one such company, the online marketplace, say they have had to rely on cash-on-delivery payments because the local electronic payment alternatives were too expensive.

Read also: PayPal Wants To Buy Pinterest For $45 Billion

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