Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Miriam Elman, Professor of Political Science

Honors Reader

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Professor of Political Science

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | International Relations | Political Science


Mahmoud Abbas’s 2011 attempt to obtain Palestinian statehood through the United Nations challenged the status quo “Middle East peace process” by offering an alternative solution to the system of bilateral negotiations that has otherwise been stagnant for much of the last decade. Since Salam Fayyad became prime minister in 2007, the Palestinian Authority has been actively working towards building institutions that would serve as the foundation for the future State of Palestine. International accolades for Fayyad’s initiative garnered far-reaching support to facilitate the state-building program.

In the six years since then, the Palestinian Authority has developed the institutions that are necessary for Palestine to become a state of its own. In reality, however, the Palestinian Authority has not evolved into the de facto state that Fayyad’s program had intended it to. This is largely due to the fact that Israel has not sufficiently minimized its occupation of the West Bank, inadvertently placing a glass ceiling on the Palestinian Authority’s ability to further develop its institutions.

The purpose of this research is to provide a better understanding of post-intifada, post-Arafat Palestine by analyzing the capacity of its institutions to function on a level comparable to other states. This research identifies specific criteria attributed to statehood, utilizing the cases of Israel and Kosovo to illustrate the role that institution building and support from the international community plays in obtaining recognition as a sovereign state. It also identifies the state-building programs enacted by the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate how the institutional capacity of the Palestinian Authority has evolved since the conclusion of the second intifada.

This research argues that the most accurate to measure a state is by assessing the existence of institutional infrastructure and the ability of state institutions to carry out the functions of a state. This research concludes that if Israel lifted its draconian restrictions in the West Bank and the U.S. also began to actively support the state-building programs, Palestine could sufficiently exist and a sovereign and independent state.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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