Conference: Alternatives to Neoliberal Development in the occupied Palestinian territory – Critical perspectives

Finished Projects

Funded by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation

The state of socio-economic development in the occupied Palestinian territory has deteriorated significantly in the post Oslo-Accords period. Much analysis and debate has been focused on the nature and extent of this deterioration. However, little has tackled the persistent need for envisaging ways forward, defining new strategies for dealing with socio-economic development in Palestine and mapping alternatives to donor driven aid paradigms and neoliberal approaches to development. In light of this, it is essential to begin the process of imagining a ‘beyond’ and envisaging new visions of developments, that move away from the debilitating effects of neoliberalism in Palestine, and the disenfranchisement caused by aid into new types of interventions, collaborations, relationships between local and international actors. Accordingly, the purpose of our conference is two-fold: (1) to initiate a critical public dialogue about the rationale behind policy formulation. From that perspective, the objective is to a create debate and generate consensus around pressing areas with an eye towards advancing possibilities for change. (2) to explore the ways that these alternatives may be achieved in practice, through the participation of different actors from the international to the national and local levels.


Dates              | 23/24 September 2014


Venue             | Said Khoury Development Studies Hall – Birzeit University


Location        | Birzeit, Occupied Palestine


Organizers     | Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Regional office Palestine (RLS) and

the Center for Development Studies/Birzeit University.



Conference Program


Tuesday 23th September 2014


09:00 -09:30

  • Arrival & Registration

09:30 – 10:15   

  • Opening Remarks
  • Samia Huleileh – Vice President for Community Outreach / Birzeit University  
  • Katja Hermann - Director of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Regional office
  • Palestine (RLS)
  • Laura Khoury- Director of the Centre for Development Studies Birzeit University
  • Linda Tabar – Lead researcher, Centre for Development Studies / Birzeit University


  • Session one: Keynote Address
  • Alfredo Saad Filho
  • Alternatives to neo-liberalism: Global experiences and lessons learned  

11:00 –11:40  

  • Discussion


11:40: – 12:00

  • Coffee break


12:00 – 14:00  

  • Session two: Understanding development under colonialism
  • Fadle Naqib - Development as struggle: confronting the reality of power in Palestine
  • Nithya Nagarajan – Development under colonialism
  • George Kurzum – The West Bank Joint industrial zones: colonial networks and relations   
  • Discussion



  • Lunch


  • Session three: Screening of the film (Donor Opium) and discussion
  • The film is directed and produced by Mariam Shahin and George Azar 

Wednesday 24th September 2014


09.00 - 09.30

  • Arrival & Registration


9:30 –12: 00

  • Session Four: Aid within the context of neoliberalism and colonialism – an alternative perspective
  • Linda Tabar: Humanitarianism and Pacification of Anti-Colonial Agency: Towards an Alternative - Rebuilding Solidarity
  • Leila Farsakh: Donor democracy promotion and the de-Democratisation of Palestine
  • Omar Jabary Salamanca: When settler colonialism becomes ‘development’: ‘fabric of life’ roads and the spatialities of development in the Palestinian West Bank 
  • Iyad Riyahi and Nahed Samarah – Crisis in the making: credit policies and indebtedness in the oPt. 


  • Discussion


12:00:– 13:00

  • Lunch

13:00 – 15:30

  • Session Five: Countering and contesting neoliberalism
  • Tariq Dana – A Resistance Economy: What are its components and can it provide an alternative.  
  • Raja Khalidi- The North-North Connection – links between north of the West Bank and 1948 areas.
  • Samia Al-Botmeh -  Role of (Boycott, divestment and sanctions) BDS in contesting colonialism and neo-liberalism
  • Jamal Juma-  role of popular resistance in the context of development (commentary) 
  • Discussion


15:30:– 15:45 

  • Coffee break

15.45 –17:00

  • Conclusion and recommendations session




  • The conference is in Arabic with English translation.


  • The conference hosts an alternative market in the foyer of its hall. Small producers of various goods and commodities are participating in this market.