Foreign aid as an instrument of control and de-development
: the case of the Gaza Strip

  • Ahmed Tannira

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis examines the impact of aid to the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip from the 1993 Oslo Agreement up to 2013. The thesis attempts to go beyond the general notion that the Israeli occupation is the main instrument of control and de-development and rather tries to investigate these aspects and the dynamics that have surrounded foreign aid delivery in the Territory. At the socio-economic level, the research explores how donors’ definition of partner for peace has exacerbated socio-economic inequalities within the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip. To that extent, the research looks at how foreign aid has been used as an instrument for particular groups to advance politically, and through this socially and economically. Consequently, it has caused socio-economic imbalances within Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip.

    The research employs the concept of trusteeship. According to this concept, aid agencies are argued to use development assistance to impose forms of control and governance over underdeveloped people. This concept works under the general assumption that development intervention is designed to a) assist underdeveloped people overcome their socio-economic problem; b) protect developed people from the surplus people (underdeveloped) who are perceived as a threat to the developed world, thus required development intervention.

    The thesis explores the extension of control over the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip by examining foreign aid delivery through the Palestinian Authority, the NGO sector, and UNRWA. The ‘partner for peace’ paradigm essentially used to govern the relationship between Western doors and the Palestinian Authority demonstrates that the Palestinian Authority had to fulfil security interests that best serve the interests of Israel rather than the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority, in the pursuit of ensuring the continued flow of aid, has therefore developed indirectly into a security agent for Israel. Meanwhile, the thesis demonstrates that the politicisation and securitisation of foreign aid has led to the emergence of a globalised elite that de facto controls the NGO sector in the Gaza Strip. The thesis explores the nature and identity of this elite and how the emergence of such a group contributed to expanding the socio-economic differentiation amongst NGOs and aid beneficiaries equally. The thesis explores the current reality of UNRWA work in the Gaza Strip and indicates how donors’ politicised interventions in the work of this organisation has restricted its ability to help Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip from advancing socially and economically.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorPatricia Sellick (Supervisor) & Marwan Darweish (Supervisor)

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