Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
October 6, 2010 - 12:00am

On Friday, October 1, 2010, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) hosted a delegation of
11 Palestinian business people from the Gaza Strip at its Washington offices. The group met with ATFP President Ziad Asali and Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish. They welcomed the group as they mentioned the significant participation of Gaza businessmen in the Palestinian Investment Conference (PIC) held in Bethlehem in June of 2009. They saw this visit, and the Gaza participation in PIC, as healthy signs of the revival of the private sector in Gaza and in overcoming the siege by opening up possibilities of contacts outside the Gaza Strip. They engaged the group in a broad discussion of US foreign policy towards Gaza and the Palestinians generally, the Palestinian political scene, state and institution building in the West Bank, economic development and reconstruction in Gaza, and Palestinian national strategy. AFTP reiterated its calls for lifting the siege on Gaza in order to allow for the revival of the private sector.

The group had already met earlier in the day with two firms owned by Palestinian Americans in the Metropolitan Washington D.C. area. One was MillerMusmar accounting firm in Reston VA, owned by ATFP Board member Joey Musmar. They discussed with Joey and his staff the specifics of how to go about starting up a new business, how to evaluate prospects for success and where to make the biggest investment. They also discussed legal obstacles and where to look for opportunities such as grants, funds, financing strategies with banks, government bodies, and industry specific associations that offer financial supports/incentives. They also looked at business practices in Palestine versus those in the US.

The other visit was with GH Development real estate company in Washington D.C. owned by Essam Ghalayini, also a member of the Board of ATFP. Essam and his colleagues shared with the group their wide experience in the fields if real estate, development and other businesses in the D.C. are discussed the business of real estate and development in this country in general. They exchanged views with the group about businesses practices in and compared similarities and differences between doing business in Gaza and the U.S.

The feedback from the group about their visit, their experience and discussions in D.C. was very positive and they were looking forward to the rest of their national tour with great enthusiasm.

The group of 11 Gaza entrepreneurs is on a three week tour of the United States, organized by the State Department and Meridian International. In addition to visiting Washington DC, the group will also travel to Detroit, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York before returning to Gaza. The visits and other D.C. events for the group, including trips to several local Palestinian-owned businesses, were arranged by Meridian International. Mrs. Ferial Polhill, a member of the Board of ATFP, helped coordinate their visit in the Washington D.C. area.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017