Governor of the PMA, H.E. Azzam Shawwa, confirmed that all banks operating in Palestine and licensed by the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) adhere to the international banking principles and standards and conform with the Palestinian laws and regulations concerning the banking sector; most importantly the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Decree Law No. (20) of 2015.
Governor Shawwa said “that the issuance by the Israeli government of a letter of assurances from the Israeli Ministry of Finance to the banks operating in Israel on engagement with banks operating in Palestine, covering the period of the next two years, was the result of diligent and concentrated efforts made by the PMA over the past few years to develop legislation, regulations and supervisory instructions in all areas particularly with respect to anti-money laundering”. These efforts, he added, have been oftentimes commended by various international financial institutions, foremost of which are the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. HE called to attention two letters from the United States State Department and Treasury last year assuring the Israeli government that all banks operating in Palestine comply to international banking regulations, instructions and supervision and are not vulnerable to money laundering and terror financing.
The Governor of the PMA pointed out that a national task force for the evaluation of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing environment ( National Risk Assessment) has been formed and is already in operation. He added that several related technical teams have emerged across all relevant institutions in Palestine out of this task force.
The Governor added that communications are underway between the PMA and the Bank of Israel in (BoI) order to facilitate financial and banking activities for all segments of the Palestinian people. Such an achievement is achievable given the nature of the relation between the Palestinian banking system and its Israeli counterpart pursuant to the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations in its article governing monetary and financial issues between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
The relations with the Bank of Israel, he noted, have created an array of channels of inter-linkage and coordination between the Palestinian banking system and its Israeli counterpart, since Israeli banks operate as correspondent banks for banks licensed in Palestine, especially with respect to transfers, settlement of cheques and other banking transactions in the Israeli shekel as well as the transport of cash.
Governor Shawwa expressed his full confidence in the Palestinian banking system, which has achieved remarkable progress across all areas of banking, creating a stable and secure banking sector which is considered one of the most important economic sectors in Palestine.