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Watchdogs call on PayPal to stop “digital discrimination” in the occupied Palestinian territories

Jerusalem24 – Today, Tuesday, a coalition of dozens of human rights organizations called on PayPal to stop preventing Palestinians in the occupied territories, specifically in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from accessing the company’s services for racist reasons, noting that it sent a letter to PayPal demanding that the company abide by its policies with the law. International Organization for Human Rights and calls on them to work directly with Palestinian civil society institutions to find a sustainable solution.

According to a statement issued by the coalition, “despite the pressure of the international community, PayPal continues to refuse to operate in the occupied Palestinian territories, while providing full access to the residents of the illegal settlements in the West Bank.”

The statement continues, “as a people living under a prolonged military occupation, Palestinians face severe restrictions on imports, exports, and movement as a result of discriminatory Israeli laws, policies, and practices in the West Bank, and most severely in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians rely on digital access for economic development and access to the global economy, the ability to use digital payment platforms is critical for Palestinian entrepreneurs, companies and freelancers to reach regional and international clients.”

Nadim Nashef, director of 7amleh (Hamleh) center, said, “our research showed that the Palestinian market is ready to use PayPal, and that PayPal’s exclusion of the Palestinians from its platform directly enhances the Israeli occupation and entrenches its devastating effects on the Palestinians and their economy.”

The coalition confirmed that PayPal’s decision towards the Palestinians is based on the “prohibited countries” policy that classifies Palestine and other countries as “highly dangerous and conflict-affected areas”, in which the company does not have the ability to operate, however, the Palestinian Authority has already established regulatory frameworks necessary for the use of electronic payment services, including the “Electronic Transactions Law” that facilitates electronic transactions and establishes measures to combat money laundering and fraud.

The coalition stressed that PayPal’s policy contributes to the Israeli campaign to delegitimize Palestinian civil society and companies and exclude them from various platforms. The guidelines stress that “if a company finds that it causes or contributes (according to the company’s own or other due diligence standards) to a negative human rights impact, it has a responsibility to compensate for it, either alone or in cooperation with other representatives.”

The coalition called on the international community to condemn PayPal’s discriminatory policies, and to join the Palestinians in this campaign to pressure the company to provide its services to the Palestinians in the occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

For its part, the 7amleh center called to join the dialogue to launch the “PayPal4Palestine” campaign to hear the effects of the policy of the PayPal company on the lives and careers of Palestinian entrepreneurs and freelancers. The talk will be hosted by Rand Safi, Director of Partnerships and Community at Gaza Sky Geeks, Sam Bahour, Palestinian Entrepreneur and Managing Partner at Applied Information Management and Zain Abu Daqqa, Research Director at Momentum Labs, a Palestinian project development company. The session will be moderated by Deborah Brown, a digital rights expert with Human Rights Watch.

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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