PayPal denies Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) and Gaza equal and fair access to its services. However, PayPal provides full access to users in Israel and illegal settlements in the West Bank, which are in violation of international law. As such, PayPal’s policy not to provide services in Palestine appears to be discriminatory on the basis of their national or ethnic origin rather than location. In recent years, Palestinians have successfully demonstrated their economic, legal, and social readiness to use digital payment services, including PayPal. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are at a greater need for such services, and particularly PayPal, as the world’s most recognized payment platform.
Palestinians are deprived of benefiting from their own resources, and face discriminatory restrictions imposed on exports and imports. All of which creates a significant constraint on the development of their economy. PayPal’s policy on Palestine is an example of digital discrimination whereby divisions in the offline world are reflected online. It also prevents many Palestinians from accessing the digital economy, which could significantly improve their lives, and has additionally obstructed initiatives of solidarity with Palestine worldwide. Even when some users manage to open accounts on the platform, in most cases they face deplatforming, whereby their accounts are removed from the platform as soon as their identities are discovered.