‘Palestine has grown despite occupation’

‘Palestine has grown despite occupation’

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
‘Palestine has grown despite occupation’

The profits in 18 banks in Palestine increased 38 percent in 2010, says al-Wazir, head of Palestine’s monetary authority, during a speech at a regional summit in Istanbul. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Palestine’s banking system and businesses continue to develop in the West Bank, even though the country’s banks have had to operate under Israeli occupation, the President of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, Jihad al-Wazir, said yesterday.

“Despite all these challenges, this [fight] that we go through every day, we make sure that we can still deliver the services to our people and businesses continue to develop. In spite of all difficulties, our economy develops steadfastly in preparation for statehood,” he said during an international summit in Istanbul.

From the Bosphorus Regional Cooperation Summit organized by the International Cooperation Platform (ICP), al-Wazir outlined the current state of the Palestinian economy.

There are about 18 banks in the Palestinian territories and on an annual basis, the bank profits in 2010 increased by 38 percent, he said.

Meanwhile, Al-Wazir claimed that less than three weeks ago, after the Palestinian bid was admitted to the UNESCO, there was an electronic attack on telecom companies, websites and electronic infrastructure in West Bank and Gaza, but added that this attack did not affect the banking system. “Many of the communication services were disrupted. But the banking system continued to operate, simply because we were prepared, due to the high-risk environment that we operate. We learn business continuity, disaster recovery and ensure that all our operations remain secure,” al-Wazir said.

Blaming Israel

Al-Wazir added that before Palestine submitted the U.N. application at the beginning of September, there were threats from Israel that military action may be taken in the West Bank cities. As a result, they increased liquidity in the banking system and made sure that all the automatic teller machines were full, he said.

The official also said there is currently a paradigm shift in the region as a whole. “For increased democracy you need more freedom and for economic stability, you need peace and stability, but this ‘will not be possible’ in the Middle East without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” he said