The Palestine National Movement has been engaged in ‘state-building’ in the absence of a state since 1969: in exile (1969–1993) and under Israel's occupation since 1994. Whereas the pre-Oslo ‘state in exile’ was a voluntary act that served several crucial functions including reinforcing Palestinian identity and entity, the post-Oslo state-building has been an obligatory exercise dictated by the terms of the Oslo interim agreements. This paper examines the framework of the post-Oslo state-building and highlights the inherent tensions between the function of the Palestinian Authority as a depository of the anticipated state and the tasks of ending occupation and nation-building. It scrutinizes the international financial role (the post-Oslo international aid program) and argues for a reassessment of international involvement.

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