In recent years, however, the Palestinian uprising has subsided and Israel has relaxed some of its movement restrictions, giving the West Bank economy a chance to grow. It's also provided an opportunity for cross-border joint ventures.
A viable Israeli-Palestinian business model
Mellanox's development teams usually hold meetings via video conference, but Palestinian programmers also travel through Israeli military checkpoints at least once every two weeks for meetings. Waldman himself has twice visited Ramallah, where he was impressed by the building boom under way in the city – the seat of the Palestinian government.
Israel's technology industry – which lures investment from leading tech multinationals – is located less than 50 miles from Ramallah, a proximity that facilitates cooperation. Asal Technologies, the outsourcing firm that supplies programmers for Mellanox, gets 40 percent of its work from Israeli companies and Israeli branches of multinational companies such as Intel.
"We are close by, in the same time zone, and have the same [Friday-Saturday] weekend. They know us and we know them," says Asal chief executive Murad Tahboub, who sees the potential for boosting not only business but peace as well. "Palestine was never on the radar of the information-technology industry worldwide. But there is a viable business model, and it helps the region.... Having a good economy is good for the Palestinians, which makes people more open to living peacefully."