World Bank observations on Palestinian economy gloss over Israel’s colonialism and apartheid – Middle East Monitor


Humanitarian aid, which has played a major role in the stagnation of Palestine and the Palestinians, is one of the factors mentioned in the World Bank’s latest analysis of the dire economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, as the reported the official Palestinian Authority news agency, Wafa.

The report notes that although the Palestinian economy recovered from a deficit of 11.3% in 2020 to achieve growth of 7.1% in 2021, “the management of fiscal policies remained difficult as the size of the Deficit before aid reached $1.26 billion, while aid hit a record high of just $317 million in 2021.”

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In theory and in practice, the Oslo Accords signed the destruction of Palestine. Humanitarian aid, which is still an integral part of the international community’s ambiguous plan for state building in Palestine, has largely been given to the PA, which is beholden to the two-state compromise theory and the rhetoric security of Israel. Without a coherent approach that takes into account Israel’s colonial expansion, the role the PA plays in sustaining Israel’s colonial violence, and the impositions of the international community that prevent the emergence of a Independent Palestinian State Despite claims to the contrary, humanitarian aid has become synonymous with projects that do more to politically dissociate Palestinians from Palestine. After all, the Palestine envisioned by the international community has nothing to do with the independence aspirations of the Palestinian people and is also far removed from Palestinian collective and historical memory.

Yet the rapidly diminishing reliance on humanitarian aid continues. Since the United States, under the Trump administration, halted humanitarian aid, several countries have followed suit, with some conditioning aid on compliance with new impositions. US President Joe Biden has partially restored humanitarian aid, but at a fraction of the budget previously allocated under other US presidencies.

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Moreover, humanitarian aid does not address the root cause of the Palestinian economic situation, which is Israel’s apartheid colonial enterprise, policies and practices. International donors, who are contributing less and less financial humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority, have no qualms about deepening their ties with Israel. And, indeed, one can say that there is no divergence, since Israel and the PA operate at different but complementary levels of corruption. The main concern of the PA to avoid a new economic decline is directly linked to the precariousness of its existence. In the same way, Israel’s concerns about the economic decline of Palestine have only to do with maintaining the status quo of having the PA in power, which guarantees the absence of thought and independent and representative Palestinian political action in terms of governance.

Meanwhile, Israel retains its annual military aid of US$3.8 billion, which allows it to control the Palestinian economy through violence, surveillance and security. The World Bank’s emphasis on budget support is only a tiny part of what the Palestinians need, and even then financial aid will be useless if Israeli colonialism is not not addressed. The gap between making humanitarian aid temporary, even if it lasts for decades, and Israeli settlement permanent, must be resolved before other futile measures are applied.

The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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