BOOK EVENT: Palestine is Throwing a Party and the Whole World is Invited

Palestine is Throwing a Party and the Whole World is Invited: Capital and State Building in the West Bank

A conversation with author Kareem Rabie and Mezna Qato, moderated by David Harvey

Due to the ongoing events in Palestine and need for other pressing conversations, we have decided to postpone this event. We hope to be able to return to it in the coming weeks. 

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In 2008, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad invited international investors to the first-ever Palestine Investment Conference, which was designed to jump-start the process of integrating Palestine into the global economy. As Fayyad described the conference, Palestine is “throwing a party, and the whole world is invited.” In this book Kareem Rabie examines how the conference and Fayyad’s rhetoric represented a wider shift in economic and political practice in ways that oriented state-scale Palestinian politics toward neoliberal globalization rather than a diplomatic two-state solution. Rabie demonstrates that private firms, international aid organizations, and the Palestinian government in the West Bank focused on large-scale private housing development in an effort toward state-scale economic stability and market building. This approach reflected the belief that a thriving private economy would lead to a free and functioning Palestinian state. Yet, as Rabie contends, these investment-based policies have maintained the status quo of occupation and Palestine’s subordinate and suspended political and economic relationship with Israel.


Palestine Is Throwing a Party is a brilliant, carefully researched, and thoughtful book. Kareem Rabie uses the lens of urban planning and development to show us how global processes of unequal capital accumulation, racialized labor and property regimes within Israel/Palestine, and the managerial rule of Palestinian technocrats and capitalists collaborating with Israel all persistently reproduce the violent systems of settler-colonial expropriation in Israel/Palestine since 1948.” — Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula

“Drawing on his exceptional knowledge and understanding of Palestine, along with a considerable amount of original, innovative, and detailed fieldwork, Kareem Rabie presents thought-provoking insights on the question of urbanism in Palestine. This extremely interesting study makes an important contribution.” — Adam Hanieh, author of Money, Markets, and Monarchies: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East

Kareem Rabie is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC and visiting fellow at CUNY’s Center for Place Culture and Politics; and Committee on Globalization and Social Change.

Mezna Qato is Margaret Anstee Fellow at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She is a social historian of Palestine and the Palestinians, and was previously Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Fellow at Columbia University, and Junior Research Fellow in the History of the modern Middle East at King’s College, University of Cambridge.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology at the Graduate Center and LeftEast. It is free and open to the public.