Kjersti G Berg
Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)
This edited volume is a comprehensive catalogue of development and politics of contemporary Palestine. The 14 chapters, written by well-established as well as young scholars of various disciplines, are connected by a political economy approach, and provide contextual, historical, and political analysis, in contrast to the dominant post-Oslo literature about peacebuilding and international aid. In the first section, three chapters explain Israeli strategies and policies in the OPT since 1967, and the deep and complex impacts of occupation and settler colonialism on Palestinian economy and development. They provide insights and overview from existing research. The second part centers on 'integration, fragmentation and inequality', and the third part on 'absence of sovereignty'. The book covers a wide range of subjects with empirically rich in-depth analysis, such as Palestinian smuggling and permit brokers – the often overlooked shadow economy, the consequences of the tunnel economy in Gaza, the fiscal architecture of the PA, how the PA has managed waste, and a conceptual framing of international aid. Several chapters show the ruling Palestinian elite as part of the problem. As stated in the introduction, critique of the Palestinian Authority is also a critique of imperial legacies, Oslo, and neoliberalism, not exempting Israel, US, Europe, regional Arab states, or global business. Sara Roy's thoughtful afterword pertinently inquires why the production of so much evidence has failed to enter our consciousness and conscience. The book extensively documents, contextualizes, and analyses Palestinian politics and development, and its interdependencies with Israeli and international policies. It challenges existing simplifications and misconceptions. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Palestine, Israel, politics, and development.