[News] Human rights organizations call on PayPal to end its digital discrimination in the occupied Palestinian territory

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 5 11:15:16 EDT 2021


  Human rights organizations call on PayPal to end its digital
  discrimination in the occupied Palestinian territory

October 4, 2021


Human rights organizations have joined together to tell PayPal to stop 
denying its services on discriminatory grounds to Palestinians in the 
occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including the West Bank and Gaza.

The coalition has sent a letter to Paypal to request that the company 
brings its policies in line with international human rights law and to 
request that the company engages directly with Palestinian civil society 
representatives to work together towards a sustainable solution.

Despite international pressure, PayPal still refuses to operate in the 
oPt while providing full access to users in Israel and illegal Israeli 
settlements in the West Bank. As a population living under prolonged 
military occupation, Palestinians face extreme restrictions on imports, 
exports, and movement as a result of Israel’s discriminatory laws, 
policies, and practices in the West Bank and more severely so in the 
Gaza Strip.

Palestinians rely on digital accessibility for economic development and 
access to the global economy. The ability to use digital payment 
platforms is crucial for Palestinian entrepreneurs, businesses, and 
freelancers, to access regional and international customers.

Nadim Nashif, Director of 7amleh, which defends Palestinian digital 
rights, said, “Our research has shown that the Palestinian market is 
ready for PayPal. By excluding Palestinians from its service but 
allowing illegal settlers, PayPal directly emboldens the Israeli 
occupation and further entrenches its devastating effects on the 
Palestinian population and their economy.”

PayPal claims that its policy against Palestinians is based on its 
“Prohibited Countries” policy which labels Palestine and other countries 
as “High Risk and Conflict-Affected Areas,” in which PayPal has no 
ability to operate. However, Palestine has already implemented the 
regulatory frameworks necessary for accessing electronic payment 
systems. This includes the “Electronic Transactions Law” which 
facilitates electronic transactions and establishes measures to combat 
money laundering and fraud.

PayPal’s policy contributes to the Israeli campaign of delegitimization 
and de-platforming of Palestinian civil society and businesses. 
Furthermore, the request of the human rights organizations is in line 
with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights guidance on the 
rights and obligations of business enterprises under international 
humanitarian law. The guiding principles warn that if a “business finds 
(either through its own due diligence or other means) that it has caused 
or contributed to an adverse human rights impact, it has a 
responsibility to actively engage in remediation, either by itself or in 
cooperation with other actors”

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

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