The Myth of Palestinian Development: Political Aid and Sustainable Deceit
Translated by
Albert Aghazarian
Institute of Jerusalem Studies and Muwatin, The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy
Publication Year: 
Number of Pages: 
اتفاق اوسلو
مؤسسة التعاون
الاتحاد الاوروبي
التنمية الاقتصادية لفلسطين
المساعدة الاقتصادية لفلسطين
السياسة الاقتصادية في فلسطين

This book is not a historical survey of the Palestinian economy; rather it examines the notion of “Palestinian development” and the social transformations that are expected to accompany it. The author’s purpose is not to engage in an abstract theoretical exercise. Instead, he attempts to provide an in-depth analysis based on his own fieldwork concerning social transformation, striking a balance between generalization and attention to the particulars of the Palestinian case. In so doing, he shatters a number of prevalent myths and clichés concerning Palestinian society and the Palestinian economy. In the fifth chapter entitled “Why has political aid failed in developing Palestine, and how can the cycle of de-development be broken?”, the author writes: “It must be made clear that we are not considering the glass of development to be either ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’...” The author’s central concern is to examine the extent to which Palestinian society is capable of developing itself by way of mobilizing its internal capabilities, in view of the stranglehold imposed by the Israeli military occupation, or rather in spite of that occupation. This book’s critical examination of the experience of the past two decades points to the conclusion that the attempt at development has so far failed.


Khalil Nakhleh holds a doctorate in anthropology and has had a long career in academic teaching, writing, and publication. He has also been a consultant to the European Commission and has supervised European Union programs in the educational sector, from the date of his return to Palestine in 1993 until 2001. Since March 2003, Nakhleh has occupied a governmental position overseeing institutions of higher education in the Palestinian Ministry of Education.