Start-Up Palestine

How to Spark a West Bank Tech Boom

Looking for networks: a freelance Web programmer in Nablus, West Bank, April 2013. MOHAMAD TOROKMAN / REUTERS

For decades, Israeli and Palestinian politicians have pursued a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, only to see their hopes dashed again and again. Today, the prospects for a comprehensive peace agreement remain dim. Policymakers must therefore start looking for other ways to improve the situation on the ground and preserve the possibility of a two-state solution. 

Creating a viable Palestinian economy will be central to this effort. Should the Palestinian economy collapse, that failure would hurt Palestinians and their neighbors just as much as a failed political state would. And it would jeopardize their future as well, since no peace deal will succeed unless the Palestinian economy is able to stand on its own. 

The idea of economic development as a precursor to peace is not new. But so far, efforts to boost growth have largely failed. Per capita GDP in the Palestinian territories is currently just $2,000, and a

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