International aid to the Palestinians has served different purposes historically and has always incorporated a diversity of agendas as might be expected from the diversity of donors and changing political contexts and times. Nonetheless, certain dominant themes to the overarching agenda of aid towards the Palestinians can be detected and distilled from these experiences, despite this internal diversity and its agenda. Moreover, the transformation and competition between dominant aid agendas over time also speaks to the way in which political agendas and power dynamics realize themselves between donors and the Palestinian people and movement on the one hand, and within the Palestinian polity and movement on the other.
Needless to say, all aid to the Palestinians has been justified by donors as part and parcel of beneficent motives. While determining what is and isn’t beneficent at a particular time is politically
conditioned, equally relating to humanitarian issues and tactical and strategic questions and priorities, it is the totality of this aid’s consequences that ultimately must be judged.