Strengthening trade and economic interaction between Palestinians in the West Bank and inside Israel: an Arab “north-north” alternative to Israelization

Raja Khalidi with Qossay Alsattari

The past few years have witnessed a surge in economic transactions between Palestinians in the West Bank and inside Israel that goes beyond the anecdotal significance of these relations hitherto. This report constitutes an initial examination of the form, scale and significance of these growing relations with a focus on the underlying dynamics in key cities of the northern West Bank. The investigation draws on available published data and access to unpublished field survey data on the subject, as well as structured field interviewing and visits. While a comprehensive study of the economic impact and function of these exchanges is not yet possible owing to data and resource limitations, this report aims to
highlight the most promising avenues for further research and policy action by local and national authorities. The first section places the issues within the broader context of the fragmentation of Palestinian regional economies under settler colonialism and the increasingly complex relations between those regions. The second section elaborates on the
different forms and channels of exchange between Palestinians inside Israel and the West Bank and their evolution over time. This is followed in section three by a presentation of the available aggregate data estimates and indictors of the scale and value of these transactions from various sources. In section four, the policy and institutional environment in which these transactions take place is examined, while the fifth section reports on the significance and implications of these exchanges for three cities in the North Bank surveyed as part of this research. The concluding section suggests a number of recommendations based on field consultations to ameliorate and further deepen this Palestinian-Palestinian trade in the immediate and longer terms.

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