You can’t build an indigenous state under settler colonialism: S. Abdel Latif, The EU and Palestine: The Role of EU Financial Aid in Statebuilding in Palestine, PhD dissertation, University of Exeter, 2019

29Nov19

Abstract: The conditions established after the 1994 Oslo Accords, which involved Israel transferring administrative and legal powers to the Palestinians, thereby granting them limited control over fragmented parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while retaining ‘security’ control over large sections of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt), have further consolidated Israel’s colonial control. Over a 25-year period, the peace agreement did not even create a Palestinian quasi-state with sub-sovereignty over the fragmented ‘Bantustans’. But the international community, whose aid and related efforts have had limited impact on advancing the peace negotiations, are still tied to the two-state solution, which is presumed to provide the endpoint to those negotiations. There has been a failure, on the part of the international community, to accept or admit that this solution is not realistic within the context of Israel’s continued colonisation of Palestine. The unique contribution of this thesis is to provide a new understanding of the role of EU financial aid to Palestine that has been directed towards the creation of a democratic, independent and viable future Palestinian State when analysed within the settler colonialism context. This will be achieved by analysing the views of the Palestinian public and Palestinian officials on the EU financial aid to Palestine, along with its role in creating a future Palestinian state. The EU official views, in addition to the latest EU audits and evaluations will be used to provide a self-assessment of the EU role in supporting the two-state solution through PEGASE Direct Financial Support (DFS) programmes, which have been in operation between February 2008 and October 2018. The thesis concludes that the EU’s adoption of statebuilding as a means through which to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has failed because it has not acknowledged the settler colonial context that continues to frustrate a solution. In addition, this thesis argues that, despite initiating a large number of reform priorities in Palestinian public institutions, the EU did not promote the establishment of legitimate institutions with the ability to overcome the Palestinian divide. In other words, EU statebuilding efforts have failed to implement ‘democratic state-building’ or support ‘democratic governance’ in Palestine.



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