Message from the editor
I vividly remember how, in the mid-1990s, my husband at month’s end would go to the bursary office to pick up his salary, tuck it into the pocket of his shirt or trousers, and go about his daily business. As a European who had travelled using travelers’ checks to avoid carrying cash, I found this situation a nightmare. I also remember proudly opening a bank account in a downtown branch. We have made strides since then, at least when it comes to banking and the automatization of financial services. But not all is rosy: the promises of the Oslo Accords have never materialized, and the occupation has both entrenched and outsourced its control and increasingly isolates Palestinians physically through restrictions on incoming travel. The space for Palestinian civil society is encroached upon by both local and outside actors. Yet the lure of easily obtained loans and the ensuing responsibilities keep Palestinians preoccupied and largely indifferent.
In this issue you can read just how far the Palestinian financial sector has come. Our sincere gratitude goes to Bank of Palestine for choosing the gold sponsorship to support funding this issue. Our thanks go also to our authors: Mahmoud Maher Shawa, general manager of Bank of Palestine; Azzam Shawwa, former governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority and former minister of energy; Barraq Al Nabulsi, general director of Palestine Capital Market Authority (PCMA); Rateb Rabi, managing director at Intersect Innovation Hub; Bashar Yasin, an international consultant with more than 20 years of experience in payment systems and banking supervision; Zaid Jerab, head of the strategic planning and digital transformation division at Quds Bank; Dr. Bashar Abu Zarour, general manager of the Digital Financial Services and Innovations Directorate at PCMA; the United Securities Company; Palestine Exchange; Yasmin Hulileh, a co-founder of Fana’ Collective; UNRWA’s Microfinance Programme in Palestine; Yousef Srouji, a senior consultant at Momentum Labs and Amal Hjouj, a research associate at Momentum Labs; Hamzeh Ghosheh, the founder of Naviatx and developer of Maslak app; Barenboim-Said for Music, a local music school; and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Our Personality of the Month is Joseph Nesnas, the deputy general manager/regional manager at Cairo Amman Bank; Historical Personality of the Month is the global banking magnate Yousef Beidas; our Book of the Month is Under the Gaze of Angels by Said Habib; and Artist of the Month is Khaled Hourani. Where to Go takes you to the lush janayen (gardens) of Yasuf, and in Wildlife in Palestine, Yara Dahdal raises alerts on how climate change is affecting Palestine. Enjoy visiting our Exhibition of the Month, Contiguous Areas by Zohdy Qadri, and the listed events.
From the entire team at TWiP, we wish you a more peaceful month ahead!
By Tina Basem