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Political Economy of Foreign Aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: A Conceptual Framing

Chapter

Political Economy of Foreign Aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: A Conceptual Framing

Abstract

Over US$40 billion has been spent by international donors as foreign aid for Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since the Oslo Accord was signed in 1993. This makes Palestinians one of the highest per capita recipients of non-military aid in the world. That aid was designed as development programming meant to foster conditions that Western donors considered necessary for peacebuilding with Israel. However, their development aid has failed to achieve three main objectives peacemakers envisaged: a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, effective and accountable Palestinian institutions, and sustainable socioeconomic development. This chapter addresses the political economy of the nexus of development aid and the Palestinian de-development process taking place under Israeli colonial rule, by examining the different donor approaches to understand what went wrong. It does this by categorizing and assessing the way policymakers and analysts have approached Palestinian development, based on analysis of key features, underpinning assumptions and arguments. This resulted in four categories—Instrumentalism; Critical Instrumentalism; Critics; and Neocolonialism—some of which are comfortable with the status quo, and some that want to challenge it. The chapter concludes by arguing any political economy driven analysis or framing of the impact of foreign aid in the Palestinian context necessitates recognizing the inherent and embedded structures of power and relations of settler colonial dominance and control in the development paradigm and de-development processes.
CHAPTER 10
Political Economy of Foreign Aid
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories:
A Conceptual Framing
Jeremy Wildeman and Alaa Tartir
Introduction and Contextual Background
Over US$40 billion has been spent since 1993 by international donors
as foreign aid for Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and
Gaza Strip (WBGS) (OECD 2020). This development “investment” in
peace centered on Palestinian institution building and reform has made
them one of the highest per capita recipients of non-military aid in the
world. Of the US$40 billion, around US$30 billion (75% of the total
aid) was allocated between 2007 and 2019, according to the OCED
aid database. On average, over the past decade US$2.2 billion of aid
J. Wildeman (B)
Human Rights Resource and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, Ottawa,
ON, Canada
A. Tartir
The Graduate Institute of International and Development
Studies (IHEID), Geneva, Switzerland
e-mail: alaa.tartir@graduateinstitute.ch
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature
Switzerland AG 2021
A. Tartir et al. (eds.), Political Economy of Palestine, Middle East Today,
https://doi.org/10.1007/978- 3-030-68643-7_10
223
Political Economy
of Palestine
Critical, Interdisciplinary, and
Decolonial Perspectives
MIDDLE EAST TODAY
Edited by
Alaa Tartir · Tariq Dana · Timothy Seidel
Middle East Today
Series Editors
Fawaz A. Gerges, Department of International
Relations, London School of Economics, London, UK
Nader Hashemi, Josef Korbel School of International
Studies, Center for Middle East Studies,
University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA
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Alaa Tartir ·Tariq Dana ·Timothy Seidel
Editors
Political Economy
of Palestine
Critical, Interdisciplinary, and Decolonial
Perspectives
Editors
Alaa Tartir
The Graduate Institute of International
and Development Studies (IHEID)
Geneva, Switzerland
Timothy Seidel
Eastern Mennonite University
Harrisonburg, VA, USA
Tariq Dana
Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
Doha, Qatar
Middle East Today
ISBN 978-3-030-68642-0 ISBN 978-3-030-68643-7 (eBook)
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-68643-7
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Contents
1 Palestinian Political Economy: Enduring Struggle
Against Settler Colonialism, Racial Capitalism,
and Neoliberalism 1
Timothy Seidel, Tariq Dana, and Alaa Tartir
Part I Contextualizing Palestinian Political Economy
2 Dominate and Pacify: Contextualizing the Political
Economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Since 1967 25
Tariq Dana
3 The Political Economy of Dependency and Class
Formation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Since 1967 49
Ibrahim Shikaki
4 Settler Colonialism and Land-Based Struggle
in Palestine: Toward a Decolonial Political Economy 81
Timothy Seidel
xi
xii CONTENTS
Part II Political Economy of Integration, Fragmentation,
and Inequality
5 The West Bank-Israel Economic Integration:
Palestinian Interaction with the Israeli Border
and Permit Regimes 111
Walid Habbas
6 The Political Economy of the Gaza Strip Under
Hamas 135
Ahmed Tannira
7 Palestinians in Israel: Neoliberal Contestations
and Class Formation 155
Hebatalla Taha
8TowardaPoliticalEconomyofApartheid
and Inequality in Israel/Palestine 177
Shir Hever
Part III Political Economy in the Absence of Sovereignty
9Gaza,Palestine,andthePoliticalEconomies
of Indigenous (Non)-Futures 197
Catherine Chiniara Charrett
10 Political Economy of Foreign Aid in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories: A Conceptual Framing 223
Jeremy Wildeman and Alaa Tartir
11 The Palestinian Authority Political Economy: The
Architecture of Fiscal Control 249
Anas Iqtait
12 Political Economy of Intervention and Securitized
Ordering in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 271
Tahani Mustafa
13 Off the Grid: Prepaid Power and the Political
Economy of Waste in Palestine 297
Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins
CONTENTS xiii
14 To Unknow Palestine: A Conclusion 321
Sara Roy
Index 329
Chapter
Since the end of the second Intifada (2000–2006), the failure to achieve national liberation through negotiations or armed struggle, and the territorial fragmentation resulting from the control mechanisms implemented by the Israeli authorities, led to the emergence of renewed local forms of Palestinian resistance. On the one hand, the mobilization of villagers known as the popular resistance led to the formation of numerous local “protest sites” in the West Bank aiming to defend rights to resources, farmland, freedom of movement and so on. On the other hand, over the past few years, citizens’ engagements in an alternative local economy have developed around what has been called a resistance economy: Iqtisad al-sumud or iqtisad al-muqawam, which has a more pro-active sense than sumud. These ongoing actions and engagements have sometimes been described as a “green Intifada”. They are undertaken by farmers, entrepreneurs and intellectuals, and have mushroomed over the past five years in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), mostly in the West Bank, showing a radical shift in the protest paradigm since their demands are not mainly addressed to institutional political actors, nor at a national political level. This chapter shows how this alternative economy has emerged as particularly necessary in Palestine after the failure of the Oslo Accords and analyses the new political practices at work.
Article
Full-text available
Recent years have seen a growing, yet unstructured, debate among Palestinian scholars and activists about the imperative of localising the economic approaches to development. This debate has revolved around the notion of “resistance economy (RE)” that places resistance at the core of the anti-colonial economic consciousness and practice. RE is envisaged as a localised response to the multifaceted crisis—generated by the dynamic interaction among Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and international donors—afflicting the Palestinian political economy. Influenced by the rich legacy of the anti-colonial experience in Palestine, the RE seeks to invigorate organised popular mobilisation and collective struggle against the settler colonial reality. However, the term is still ambiguous and underdeveloped; further, it lacks the theoretical and methodological underpinnings to allow it to be contextualised, strategised, and implemented as part of everyday economic activity. This article seeks to contribute to this debate and foster an understanding that takes into consideration the interrelationship between the economy, politics, and society in a context characterised by the repressive interplay of colonialism and neoliberalism. Finally, the article engages critically with the debate concerning the centrality of agricultural activity to the RE.
Article
Full-text available
(Published in The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies) Countless Canadians have for decades been trying to provide support to Palestinians living under military occupation in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, they have often faced strong resistance from pro-Israel advocates and elites in Canada, including their own government. This paper looks at the government suppression of Canadian development sector organisations running Palestinian aid projects 2001 to 2012, including from the perspective of the people running them. Based on document analysis, policy analysis and original semi-structured interviews with coordinators running aid projects, it describes how their work was almost universally undermined by the Canadian government. Tactics uncovered include appointing ardent pro-Israel advocates to an organisation's management, defunding specific projects, defunding entire organisations, launching questionable audits, spurious allegations of terrorism and the forced closure of organisations. This oppression was particularly overt under the Harper Conservative government, but had a basis in earlier Liberal governments. This interference provides an understanding for the fear that exists surrounding Palestinian aid work in Canada and the process by which Canadian aid to Palestinians is rendered ineffective. The paper further argues that while these tactics were likely first honed against Palestinian solidarity work, they were then used against other progressive groups, undermining Canadian civil society and democracy.
Research
Full-text available
On the 25th Anniversary of the Oslo Accords, this report assesses the approach taken by 9 of the top Western donor countries/institutions that have for decades determined the structure of development aid in the Occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). It does this by focusing on the period 2010-16 through a quantitative keyword and qualitative analysis of 80 of their combined reports, and interviews with several dozen officials who contribute to the shaping of policy. This examination was conducted in order to offer a better understanding of how these donors perceive the Oslo Peace Process, Palestinian development, Israeli military rule, the ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land and the conflict resulting out of the combination of these processes. This is all carried out using an ‘Aid Effectiveness’ lens, with an emphasis on local leadership and local knowledge, but while also bearing in mind a ‘fragile and conflicted states’ framework and the ‘do no harm’ principle. Thus, the report’s analysis acknowledges that all donors involved in a conflict situation become actors in that conflict. For this reason, they should strive to provide their assistance in as neutral a manner possible, and be cognisant of the actual context they are intervening in (through strong analysis) in order to not make conditions worse. The 9 Western actors analysed comprise not only some of the biggest sources of funding in the $30+ billion spent on ‘Oslo aid’ since 1993, but are also the ‘intellectual drivers’ who have determined just how that aid – and Palestinian economic and social institutions – is shaped. They include the United States, which has dominated the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) politically as arbiter of Israeli-Palestinian peace-building; the European Union, which with its member states has acted as the leading financial contributor of Oslo aid, and the World Bank, which has played a leading role reporting on the state of Palestinian development and guiding donors through the bilateral giving process. Other influential actors analysed include the IMF, Canada, the UK, Norway, Sweden and Germany, all of whom have been funding a peace-building model built on an underlying precept that Palestinians need to be endowed with liberal democratic institutions in order for them to be able to cohabitate in peace with Israel, and where that peace will be cemented based on free market international trade and development funding to incentivise the Palestinians to abandon violence. This report also provides context for living and political conditions in the OPT, which are then compared to the donors’ policies and a description of each donor. In so doing, it sheds light on a gap that exists between the overarching Oslo aid model and donors’ policies, with actual conditions in the OPT and what is considered effective aid. The report also describes a noticeable rhetorical gap that exists between donors’ policies with their actions, and identifies nuances in the donors’ positions. The report further engages expert opinions on the state of Oslo and the OPT, while providing recommendations for future research into the role of these powerful and under-researched donors. Funding- The research for this study was carried out by Dr Jeremy Wildeman at the University of Bath’s ‘Department for Social and Policy Sciences’, with funding support from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). Publication Date: 2018 Publication Name: Donor Aid Effectiveness and Do No Harm in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Article
Full-text available
This article interrogates the multifaceted political–economic networks entrenched within the multiple structures of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA). The main argument of this article is that crony capitalism is a defining feature of the PA’s relations with a handful of capitalists and business groups. The demonstration of this argument is exhibited through the large-scale public and private monopolistic practices in strategic sectors of the Palestinian economy, which function within the framework of Israel’s settler-colonial reality and the persistent patterns of international aid to the occupied West Bank. While acknowledging the existence of cronyism as a feature of the capitalist system in its diverse typologies, crony capitalism may be more pronounced in situations characterised by political uncertainty, whereby political–business collusion strategizes the expansion of neo-patrimonial networks and rent-seeking opportunities as a meta-mechanism for social control and political stabilisation. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, crony capitalism was developed as part of the political allegiances and economic alliances that underpin the structures created by the Oslo process, which are fostered by Israeli policies and the international donor community to maintain the cohesiveness of the PA regime.
Article
Full-text available
The European Union (EU) and its member states shoulder a significant part of the aid devoted to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinians in Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). They do so according to a development aid model that is driven intellectually by the World Bank, under US political oversight. This article locates European aid in the World Bank-led approach and analyses its shortcomings. It starts with an overview of how such an approach came to characterize economic development in the Oslo Peace Process. It highlights its fundamental ambiguities when it comes to analysing the occupation and settlements. It then focuses on the issue of settlement-building and de-development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) that punctuates the failure of the aid model. It concludes by analysing current thinking in aid effectiveness and how it could be adopted as an alternative approach by the Europeans.
Article
Since the Oslo Accords came into force in 1993, the European Union (EU) and its individual member-states have invested billions of Euros, with a view to establishing the basis for an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. As Israel’s colonization of the Palestinian West Bank has progressed, Palestinian statehood has become little more than a myth. As the state-building process has atrophied, securitization has found a renewed impetus, being elevated at the expense of initiatives that seek to promote democratization. This article argues that, far from being a neutral process grounded within the building of capacities, Security Sector Reform (SSR) has strengthened the foundations of Palestinian authoritarianism. In focusing upon the development of the EU’s police mission in the West Bank (EUPOL COPPS), this article argues that EU-sponsored ‘reform’ has contributed directly to the ‘professionalization’ of Palestinian authoritarianism. The article therefore suggests that the EU consistently has failed to acknowledge the political implications that extend from its technical mandate and interventions. The EU has become, to the extent that its interventions extend Israel’s colonial project, part of the problem. In concluding, the article offers an assessment of the decade-long EUPOL COPPS (The European Union Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories) commitment, with a view to developing key lessons and recommendations that can inform future EU interventions.
Article
The occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) are a major recipient of global aid flows, ostensibly aimed at improving development outcomes for the Palestinian population. This article presents a critical analysis of the ways that development is being conceived and practiced by major actors in the oPt. By analyzing different conceptions of power, the article examines how dominant approaches to development hide the ongoing reality of Israeli settler colonialism by dehistoricizing Zionism and its project; incorporating the structures of Israeli occupation into official Palestinian development strategy; and promoting an economic perspective that views development as an objective and disinterested process operating above (and outside) power relations. After considering some of the ramifications of current approaches to development, the article concludes with brief remarks on how this critique can help to reframe and articulate an alternative strategy. © 2016 by the Institute for Palestine Studies. All rights reserved.
Chapter
The current situation of the Palestinian people can be described as one of indefinite transition. The prospects for Palestinian development must be considered in this context, as development in the conventional sense has presently been rendered virtually impossible. The Palestinian polity presently faces the uncertainty of an endless permanent transition, and Israel has infinite opportunities for intervention at its disposal given the uncertain transitional status of the Palestinian territories. Furthermore, it is extremely unlikely that this transition will be short since, given its internal perceptions of its strategic interests and concerns, the Israeli state’s dominant strategy appears to be to manage this transition for as long as it can. The prospects of achieving Palestinian rights therefore depend upon how Palestinians cope during this transition period. If the transition period results in an ongoing fragmentation of the Palestinian polity, its disintegration into regional and factional groups and, of course, its collapse into internal strife — the prospects of achieving Palestinian rights, let alone future statehood, will be seriously diminished. To some extent this has already happened with the effective separation of Gaza from the West Bank since June 2007. And despite the promise of reconciliation, the chances of future divisions remain.
Chapter
The case of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) constitutes a prime example from which to explore and expand the dynamics of contentious politics and social movement theories, both from a historical and contemporary perspective. As an occupied, fragmented, ethnically cleansed, dispossessed, and resilient nation, Palestinians could be seen as part of a social movement society. By resisting different forms of dominance, military occupations, and repressive authorities for several decades, Palestinians accumulated multiple cycles of contention and engaged in contentious collective actions to give birth to the Palestinian revolution (Al-Thawra Al-Filstiniya). This revolution and its characteristics have changed dramatically over the years, particularly with the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993. At that point, the Palestinian liberation movement declared the beginning of the end for the Palestinian national project.1 The revolution’s institutions transformed gradually into the bureaucracy run by the nascent and nonsovereign governing body, the Palestinian Authority (PA).