Donor Aid in Occupied Palestine in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings

Over the past twenty years, the donor community has invested more than $23 billion into ‘peace and development’ in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). However, neither peace nor development has been achieved, is any closer to being achieved, and in fact, may be moving further away. By examining donor operations, priorities and the ‘aid-for-peace’ agenda in the oPt in the era of the Arab uprisings, this paper investigates whether past patterns in donor aid have undergone any changes in the wake of the Arab uprisings (“Spring”) in 2011. By building on 28 original semi-structured interviews conducted with actors in the aid industry in the oPt, this paper argues that international donors are not only failing to move beyond the 1993 “Investment in Peace” framework laid out by the World Bank within the Oslo Peace Process, but that those donors are reinforcing failed past patterns associated with the “peace dividends” model while making only cosmetic changes to their engagement. Fundamentally, it will be argued that donors do not appear ready to change an approach dominated by policy instrumentalists that emphasises pre-determined normative values instead of results, all while quietly trading to Palestinians economic benefits in return for their surrendering political rights. Meanwhile, a growing chorus of aid critics remain left on the side-lines with little influence over policy models that remain consistent with two prior decades of failure to produce either peace or economic growth.

Co-authored with Jeremy Wildeman, Paper presented at “The Politics of Foreign Aid in the Arab Middle East: Have the Arab Uprisings Changed The Practice?”, Florence, June 2013. Click here for additional information.

The final output of this workshop is an academic journal article co-authored by Jeremy Wildeman and Alaa Tartir and published at the Journal of Mediterranean Politics in 2014 as part of a Special Issue “The Politics of Foreign Aid in the Arab World. The Impact of the Arab Uprisings”. Click here to view and download the article.