The Israeli–Palestinian situation is a seemingly intractable conflict that appears no closer to being politically resolved today than it was in the last century with the roots of it being unresolved reaching back to before Israel became a nation in 1948. We believe that even before the political situation is resolved, we can use business and economic levers to not only make life bearable for Palestinians, but to offer a non-violent way to resist the current state of affairs.
The Israeli occupation imposes restraints and dependencies on the movement of goods in and out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that result in additional costs and unpredictable delays. Other impediments that disrupt normal business function include lack of access to products perceived by the Israeli government as having “dual use”, limits on access to water, unpredictable government-imposed power outages, restrictions on personal and business travel, expropriation of a company’s assets (e.g., computers), and internet connectivity issues. After a 15 year lobbying campaign, the Israeli government has finally agreed in November 2015 to allow the development of 3G connectivity in the West Bank but not in the Gaza Strip.
In spite of the constraints imposed by the Israeli occupation, many Palestinian businesses have found ways to survive and even succeed. The resilience and steadfastness of the Palestinian people and their creativity in operating in the face of challenge is a remarkable sight. Even so, most Palestinian businesses struggle under the weight of so many obstacles. No business should have to function that way.
We believe that when more Americans are involved in doing business with Palestinians, there will be new pressures on the authorities that will help end or dampen the constraints and begin to open Palestine to a better economic future. We also believe that American involvement at the B2B level will foster conditions that make a political settlement more likely.
Knowing that there are American businesses and investors who are willing to work with them will provide a morale, and hopefully material, boost for Palestinians and will boost the confidence of the people involved. Through connections to Americans, the Palestinian business community becomes more engaged in the global community. They become less isolated and more connected to the world outside.
Americans and Palestinians working together will create hope and a future in which Palestinians can make progress toward their freedom and economic independence – a future in which they can compete globally on a level playing field.
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 impediments on the ground are lifted, these lasting partnerships and investments will support vibrant economy growth. A growing Palestinian economy will make Palestinians and Israelis more secure.