Eleven members of US Congress have written a letter demanding that PayPal ends its ban of providing service to Palestinians.
The payments giant offers its digital payments services to Israelis, but has denied Palestinians access to its platform.
Representative Mark Pocan who authored the letter to PayPal CEO, Dan Schulman, argues that PayPal’s refusal to serve
Palestinian businesses threatens their rights to the digital economy. The letter states: “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. As one of the world’s most recognised payment platforms, PayPal has a responsibility to ensure its services and operations are provided in a non-discriminatory manner.”
PayPal has not definitively stated the reason for denying access to their platform in Palestinian-occupied territories, but have regarded the area as “high-risk” despite the fact that other digital payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Visa, and Mastercard operate in the West Bank and along the Gaza Strip without issues.
The ban by PayPal has been read by Palestinian businesses as a means to limit the digital and banking economy of Palestinians in favor of Israeli control, and exclude impacted populations of the conflict zone from digital banking access.
Harrington Investments put forward a proposal at a recent PayPal shareholders meeting to create a policy against exclusion for people in conflict zones such as Palestine. PayPal has urged shareholders against the proposal.
PayPal was accused of discriminatory account suspensions by mobile app Tulipshare, which called out the company for account pre-approval policies that disproportionately targets minorities.