The Occupied Palestinian Territories is one of the world’s most aid-dependent countries. Despite overall levels of aid falling since 2009, the Territories remain one of the world’s largest per capita recipients of foreign aid. 

The purpose of this Country Evaluation Brief is to present relevant knowledge about donors’ development efforts in Palestine. The brief systematises relevant findings from existing evaluations of development interventions in the country.

The main findings are:

Despite some limited successes, multiple constraints made it impossible to meet the stated objectives (lasting peace, effective and accountable Palestinian institutions, and sustainable socio-economic development) of international aid to the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) in the period under review (2010–16).

The current cooperation and international aid paradigm has reached its limits in the absence of a parallel constructive political track that addresses the key constraints of Israeli occupation, settlement policies and the political division of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Continued Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip remains the primary reason for the failure of international aid to achieve goals related to peace, human development and economic prosperity.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) adopted donor-driven security sector reform (SSR) as the lynchpin of its post-2007 state-building project. The development process became highly securitized as nearly one third of the aid was allocated to the security sector.

Due to the absence of effective accountability mechanisms in the international aid framework for Palestine, donors are not committed to the principles of aid effectiveness (Paris, Accra and Busan declarations) and the Do No Harm principles.

Aid fatigue in the oPT is acknowledged in the donor community, but most donors are unwilling to revise the overall aid system or alter the economic framework of the Oslo Accords (Paris Economic Protocol arrangements).

The failure to reconstruct Gaza in the aftermath of the three Israeli assaults illustrates the limitations of the existing aid framework and development model.

International aid through direct budgetary support has kept the Palestinian Authority afloat, especially at times of severe fiscal crises and critical political junctures.

The annual losses to the Palestine economy due to the occupation are greater than current ODA aid volumes.

International aid improved the effectiveness of several PA institutions, but the reform process did not address the roots of corruption. Enhanced institutional functionality nevertheless enabled the Palestinian leadership to seek international political recognition.

Development aid had limited impact on socio-economic conditions and failed to achieve positive and lasting outcomes.

Aid enabled short term sectoral improvements in the health and infrastructure sectors. Yet the fundamental structural deficiencies in the Palestinian economy and aid structures and systems prevented such improvements from serving as drivers of sustainable economic growth.

Humanitarian aid was indispensable in addressing basic humanitarian needs.