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Can Palestinians free themselves of the shekel?

The new government of Prime Minister Mohammed al-Shtayyeh would like to drop the shekel, which is not an easy proposition given the many ways the Israeli currency enters the Palestinian economy.
A Palestinian man holds News Israeli Shekels' bills marked with stickers reading "Free Palestine" on March 7, 2011 in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as part of a campaign aimed to peacefully express opposition to Israel's occupation.  Young Palestinian activists have found a new medium to protest Israeli occupation: scrawling anti-occupation slogans on the currency they share with the Jewish state. AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI (Photo credit should read ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — On April 13, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh made his first appearance on Palestine TV after taking office and pledged to seek alternative currencies for the Israeli shekel, putting his government to the test.

“The Palestinian economy has about 25 billion shekels [$7 billion] circulating in the local economy, but we are not forced to remain dependent on the shekel,” Shtayyeh said. “So one of the central issues we will be working on is forming a team to study dropping the shekel, either by resorting to an encrypted currency, digital currency or other options.”

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