Criminalising Resistance, Entrenching Neoliberalism: The Fayyadist Paradigm in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank

This paper-based thesis consists of five interlinked chapters/articles that explore dimensions of both the style of governance and the state-building endeavour in the West Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, primarily between 2007 and 2013. This governance and state-building project came to be known as the Fayyadist paradigm, or Fayyadism, in reference to the former Palestinian Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad. The thesis examines the transformations that occurred under Fayyadism in the two spheres of security and economy, and elucidates their consequences on the people’s security and well-being, as well as the broader dynamics of resistance against the Israeli military occupation and settler-colonialism. Therefore, the primary contribution of this thesis is empirical and ethnographic in nature.

This thesis examines the transformations in the security sphere at three levels. First, to historicise Fayyadism, the thesis contextually analyses the evolution of Palestinian security forces and reforms over the past two decades. Second, the thesis unpacks and critically assesses perceptions about the Fayyadist paradigm by drawing on the findings of an ethnographic fieldwork investigation conducted at two sites in the occupied West Bank, namely Balata and Jenin refugee camps, as well as the associated relevant literatures. Third, this thesis investigates in-depth the security campaigns to induce “law and order” as a defining feature of the Fayyadist paradigm, and through a bottom-up ethnographic approach, analyses the consequences of Fayyadist security campaigns on the people’s security in Balata and Jenin refugee camps and on the broader dynamics of resistance against Israel.

This thesis examines and analyses the transformations in the economic sphere at two levels. It addresses the interaction between Fayyadism and the aid industry through an aid-dependency lens to examine whether the transformations that occurred under the Fayyadist paradigm impacted donors’ operations and the overall framework of the aid industry. It also utilises theories of contentious politics to analyse the implications of the Fayyadist paradigm’s neoliberal economic model and the authoritarian transformations it induced, and also to expand the conceptual underpinnings of the contentious politics theories through proposing the notions of contentious economics and resistance economy.

PhD Thesis, Department of International Development, LSE.