The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has gone on for more than seven decades. It often seems that a viable and lasting resolution is distant and complex. At Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE), we believe economic development cannot—and should not—wait for political change. We believe the effective use of business and economic levers can make life bearable for Palestinians and provide the experience needed to sustain dignified, empowering livelihoods—now and beyond.
Study after study has documented the debilitating constraints imposed on Palestinians that disrupt business and stifle the economy. In the name of security, the Israeli military stalls and blocks the movement of people and goods, interrupts daily life with patrols and violence, and maintains an atmosphere of insecurity that stymies normal planning and investment. Families are then un-able to provide for their daily needs and become frustrated and resentful. Their political freedom is also tied to their economic freedom—the right to a prosperous, fulfilling future.
Nevertheless, many Palestinian enterprises have found ways to survive and even thrive. Palestin-ian business owners, chasing the entrepreneurial dream, show amazing resilience and creativity in trying to overcome the man-made obstacles they face. This is where we come in. By the time Palestinian business people have coped with Israeli constraints and obstacles, they are spent and have little time to handle the usual business challenges that are key to success.
AVPE’s mission is to create social change and sow seeds of hope by building bridges between American and Palestinian enterprises, providing each with the knowledge, contacts, and context they need to collaborate and thrive.
A free, independent and growing Palestinian economy will make the entire region more se-cure. Every business transaction and job created plants another seed of hope so that Palestinians can constructively engage to build a future of freedom and economic independence. As im-pediments on the ground lift, these lasting rela-tionships and investments will support vibrant economic expansion.
When Americans do business with Palestinians, their involvement brings not only new technol-ogy and markets but also a backbone of support that helps Palestinians to overcome the array of obstacles they face. By learning about Pal-estine, Americans challenge their own percep-tions about the people and the conflict, laying the groundwork for better policies. Through connections to Americans, the Palestinian busi-ness community becomes more engaged and less isolated. Palestinian businesses produce numerous goods and products that are ripe for development and scale-up for the vast U.S. market. And Americans and Palestinians working together create hope and a glimpse of economic independence—a future in which Palestinians can compete globally on a level playing field.