Mark Ruffalo backs petition urging PayPal to end 'discrimination' against Palestinians
The American Hulk actor, who has previously expressed pro-Palestine views, shared a petition on campaign website SumOfUs that says the digital payment giant is "discriminating against Palestinians".
"Friends: PayPal operates in Israel's illegal settlements – but is refusing to provide service to Palestinians in Gaza and [the] West Bank, in direct violation of UN guidelines," Ruffalo said.
"Join the international call [for] PayPal to end its baseless discrimination now."
But the petition, which says it was updated in June with the assistance of Palestinian digital rights group 7amleh, suggests change could be around the corner.
"We have heard from multiple sources in the last month that PayPal may be taking steps to provide service to all Palestinians," it reads.
The petition also says that Apple Pay, which it describes as PayPal's top competitor, provides services to Palestinians.
It alleges that PayPal's "discrimination against Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza" is "in direct violation of UN guidelines".
7amleh director Nadim Nashif praised Ruffalo's tweet and support for the campaign.
"This is really appreciated," he told The New Arab. "It raised attention to our cause and to the campaigns we are running.
"I think immediately, in [a] few hours, more than 30,000 people signed the petition."
Nashif added that his organisation hopes that other celebrities and prominent figures also "take the right stand and support [the] Palestinian cause".
"Opening up PayPal to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is crucial because right now it's stifling the Palestinian digital economy," he said, adding that the global economy is increasingly online, including in its use of digital payment methods.
"If you are not there, you are missing a lot and your economy is not developing," Nashif said.
He added that Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have their movements restricted, meaning remote working "can give lots of hope" to "many young, educated Palestinians who know English and have many skills and can contribute".
Nashif said it can enable them to access economic opportunities both in the Arab world and beyond.
The petition notes that Palestinians who cross into Israel to work face long waits and even violence from Israeli security.
"Meanwhile, Palestinians who do online freelance work run into another problem: they can't get paid," it says.
The petition adds that almost half of those living in Gaza are unemployed, causing many to look to the internet to earn a living.
It calls on readers to "tell PayPal to stop discriminating against Palestinians and offer its services to everyone in Gaza and the West Bank".
The New Arab has contacted PayPal for comment.
Note: This article was updated at 21:12 BST (GMT+1) on 8 June 2022 to include remarks from 7amleh director Nadim Nashif.