Bitcoin: A Weapon for Peace in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Activist Fadi Elsalameen says U.S. aid doesn’t help Palestinians because of corruption. They need monetary freedom.


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There have been several violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli police over the past several months. According to Amnesty International, 18 Israelis and 34 Palestinians were killed in March and April, including six children. In May, footage of the funeral of an Al Jazeera reporter, allegedly shot by Israeli police, led the United Nations to call for an international investigation.

Though overshadowed by other wars and crises around the world, the Israel-Palestine conflict, stretching three-quarters of a century, is intensifying.

A growing number of Palestinians are in favor of living within Israel, having given up on the idea of breaking off to form a separate state. But their lives are constrained by both the Palestinian Authority's corruption and the omnipresence of the Israeli military. The Palestinians comprise a community roughly the same size as the Jewish population within Israel, but they don't enjoy the same freedoms and they face major restrictions on their movement.

What policies could help the Palestinians achieve more political and economic freedom?

Fadi El-Salameen is a political commentator on Arab-Israeli affairs and an adjunct senior fellow at the American Security Project. A vocal critic of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, El-Salameen has survived two assassination attempts.

He believes that an important step in liberating the Palestinian people is monetary freedom—specifically through the use of bitcoin, as a way to help bypass the Palestinian Authority's control over their finances. Reason caught up with El-Salameen at the 2022 Bitcoin conference in Miami.

Photos: Ahmad Salem/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Wajed Nobani/APAImages/Polaris/Newscom; Shadi Jarar"ah/APAImages/Polaris/Newscom; Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom; Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom; Wajed Nobani/APAImages/Polaris/Newscom; Mamoun Wazwaz/APAImages/Polaris/Newscom; Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom; APAImages/Polaris/Newscom; Jeries Bssier/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom; Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom; Thaer Ganaim/apaimages/SIPA/Newscom

Music: "Odd Numbers," by Curtis Cole, Artlist

Credit: Interview by Noor Greene, intro edited by John Osterhoudt, interview edited by Adam Czarnecki, shot by Jim Epstein and Zach Weissmueller, audio by Ian Keyser