State-Building and Economic Development In Palestine Without a Political Horizon

The Promise and Pitfalls
Shutterstock/Roman Yanushevsky

The possibility of relaunching meaningful peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is remote given the political realities in both countries. The challenges facing states across the Middle East—civil conflict, refugee flows, and the threat posed by terrorism—have dominated the policymaking space to the exclusion of Israeli-Palestinian peace. The priority seems now to have become one focused on preventing violent extremism from taking root in Palestine, shoring up the Palestinian institutions of government and supporting economic development and opportunity for Palestinians until the environment is ripe for a comprehensive agreement.

On October 13, New America will host an expert panel from Al Shabaka—The Palestinian Policy Network—that will explore the promise and pitfalls of development and "economic peace" in the absence of a political horizon in the occupied Palestinian territory. The panelists argue that a focus on economic development should complement rather than be seen as a substitute for progress on the political front. They also examine efforts to nurture the Palestinian social, political, and cultural fabric as the occupation enters its 50th year.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with #BuildingPalestine and @NewAmericaISP.


Zaha Hassan, Esq.
Middle East Fellow, New America


Nur Arafeh
Jerusalem-Based Al-Shabaka Policy Fellow

Nur will discuss the fragmentation of the Palestinian economy, while focusing on the marginalized economy of East Jerusalem, and the sectors that still have some promise to fuel the limited economic development possible under occupation.

Tareq Baconi
DC-Based Al-Shabaka Policy Fellow

Tareq will show how Palestinian state-building is limited due to inability to access national resources such as the gas fields off Gaza, which could provide a powerful form of revenue for the economy—policies that intentionally maintain economic dependence on Israel and create a captive market for its exports.

Nadia Hijab
London-Based Al-Shabaka Executive Director

Nadia discusses the role of think tanks, alternative media and civil society organizations (including cultural institutions) that seek to keep democracy—and human dignity—alive.

Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network, is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.