Author: DANIEL K. EISENBUD
Posted on May 7, 2017
Following a 50-year absence, The National Bank has opened the first branch of a Palestinian bank in the neighborhood of Dahiyat al-Barid, which is isolated from northeast Jerusalem by the separation wall.
The bank is located in southern a-Ram, just outside the capital’s municipal border. An 8-meter-high separation barrier, built in 2006, cuts off the neighborhood from nearby Neve Ya’acov.
The head of the a-Ram Village Council estimates that among the over 60,000 residents, over half hold Israeli identity cards, adding that several thousand residents moved to east Jerusalem when the wall was approved to avoid the inconvenience of being cut off from multiple institutions.
TNB CEO Talal Nasser al-Deen, who said it took 18 months to procure government approval for the branch, told Gulf News he is proud in what he deemed a historic step in independent Palestinian banking.
“The new TNB branch is based in a building that was constructed before 1967, which required rehabilitation before use,” said al-Deen. “This makes [residents’] lives much easier, as they avoid passing through checkpoints to reach banks on the other side of the wall.”
TNB general manager Ahmad al-Haj Ali said the branch, which employs 25 people, will contribute to financing the residents’ small and medium-sized projects, which could curb unemployment and poverty.
Ali added that TNB has also launched a program to empower women economically by granting loans that will “enable them to achieve their ambitions and projects, which could directly improve households’ income and help integrate Jerusalemite women into the labor market.”
In an effort to improve banking services, Azzam al-Shawwa, the governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, told al-Monitor that two additional banks have been approved in a-Ram.
“The approval granted by the PMA to three Palestinian banks in a-Ram comes as part of the PMA’s efforts to deliver banking services to all citizens in different governorates,” said Shawwa.