The Palestinian Authority (PA), frustrated by the one-sided and zero-sum plan to end the Israeli–Palestinian conflict presented by former US President Donald Trump, has escalated efforts to diminish its reliance on Israel. In particular, the PA responded with plans to disengage from the Israeli economy and become more self-sufficient. This course of action has become known as the Economic Disengagement Plan (EDP). This paper explores the likelihood of the EDP creating development in the absence of Palestinian sovereignty and the extent to which the EDP may be capable of achieving Palestinian separation from the Israeli economy. It argues that the EDP is incapable of separating the Palestinian economy from Israeli in the absence of national sovereignty for the Palestinians over their land. However, while the EDP is not a strategy to achieve political or economic independence, it can contribute to Palestinians' somood (steadfastness) on their own land, build resilience and advance resistance against the Israeli occupation. To do so, the EDP needs to be placed within a broader national strategy of liberation and decolonisation, rather than being confined to the shackles of inequitable agreements that reflect the severe power imbalance between Israel and the PA, as is the case now.
To cite: Fraihat, Ibrahim. "The Palestinian Economic Disengagement Plan from Israel: An Opportunity for Progress or an Illusion?" Third World Quarterly, DOI 10.1080/01436597.2022.2060813