US Congress members demand PayPal end ban on Palestinian business

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(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Eleven members of the US Congress have demanded PayPal end a ban on doing business with Palestinians in the occupied territories while permitting Israeli settlers to use the digital payment platform, the Guardian reported. اضافة اعلان

The letter, authored by Representative Mark Pocan, said PayPal is discriminating against Palestinians by denying “equal access to the digital economy”.

“We have significant concerns that, because PayPal does provide services to Israeli citizens in illegal settlements across the West Bank, but does not provide services to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, PayPal’s current operating status may be infringing upon the rights of Palestinians,” the letter said.

“As one of the world’s most recognized payment platforms, PayPal has a responsibility to ensure its services and operations are provided in a non-discriminatory manner.”

The letter was sent to PayPal’s CEO, Dan Schulman, ahead of the company’s annual stockholder meeting on Wednesday. It was also signed by Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Betty McCollum, Rashida Tlaib and Greg Casar, among others.

No explanation
PayPal has not explained publicly why it has singled out residents of the Palestinian territories, only saying it regards the area as “high risk”, when other financial service providers, including Visa, Mastercard and Apple Pay, operate in the West Bank and Gaza without issue, the Guardian reported.

The payment platform operates in other areas of conflict, including Yemen and Somalia.

Palestinian business owners have likened the PayPal ban to Israeli checkpoints that control movement, saying it stifles economic development because so many other platforms use the payment service, such as eBay.

The socially responsible investment firm Harrington Investments, founded by John Harrington, who was at the forefront of pushing US corporate divestment from apartheid South Africa, has put forward a proposal at PayPal’s shareholder meeting that would see the payment platform’s board “establish a policy that ensures that people in conflict zones, such as in Palestine, do not suffer discriminatory exclusion from the company’s financial services”.

The proposal says that if PayPal does not wish to implement the policy then it should “provide an evaluation of the economic impact the policy of exclusion has on the affected populations as well as the company’s finances, operations and reputation”.

PayPal has urged shareholders to vote against the proposal.

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