Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has once again stated that the government is thinking of using cryptocurrency as an alternative to the Israeli fiat currency, the shekel.
At the opening of the Palestine Center for Computer Emergency Response in Ramallah on July 9, Shtayyeh said that he is takin into account any possibility of improving the freedom of Palestinian economy without facing constrictions from Israel.
The prime minister has reportedly stated in an interview that:
“The Palestinian economy has about 25 billion shekels [$7 billion] circulating in the local economy, but we’re not forced to remain dependent on the shekel.”
In April 1994, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed the Paris protocol which gave the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) the authority of a central bank but it forbade it from issuing banknotes. The protocol also dictates that the Israeli shekel will be used “as means of payment for all purposes including official transactions.”
Economic and social sciences professor at Najah University in Nablus explained the situation in more detail:
“If Palestine has its own currency, will it be able to prevent Israel from withholding tax clearance funds or controlling crossings and the movement of exports and imports? The problem of the Palestinian economy is not the currency but rather a complex economic and political reliance on Israel.”
He also noted that 170,000 Palestinians get paid in shekels, with 80% of the transactions in Israel being made in this currency.
“Israel won’t accept dealing with another currency, and the shekel surplus predicament in Palestine will remain unchanged.”
Palestine first revealed intentions of developing a national cryptocurrency in May 2017.
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