States, in their conflicts with militant groups embedded in civilian populations, often resort topolicies of collective punishment to erode civiliansupport forthe militants.We attempt to evaluatethe efficacy of suchpolicies in the context of the Gaza Strip, where Israel's blockade and military interventions, purportedly intendedto erode support for Hamas, have inflicted hardship on the civilian population. Wecombine Palestinianpublicopinion data, Palestinianlabor force surveys, and Palestinian fatalities data, to understand the relationship between exposure to Israeli policies and Palestinian support for militant factions. Our baselinestrategy is a difference-in-differencesspecification that compares the gap in public opinionbetween the Gaza Strip andthe West Bank during periods of intense punishment with the gap during periods when punishment is eased. Consistent with previous research, we find that Palestinian fatalities are associated with Palestinian support for more militant political factions. The effect is short-lived, however, dissipating after merely one quarter. Moreover the blockade of Gaza itself appears to be only weakly associated with support for militant factions. Overall, we find little evidence to suggest that Israeli security policies towards the Gaza Strip have any substantial lasting effect on Gazan support for militant factions, neither deterring nor provoking them relative to their West Bank counterparts. Our findings therefore call into question the logic of Israel's continued security policies towards Gaza, while also raising the possibility more generally that populations violently targeted by state actors may exhibit greater inertia in their support for militancy (or lack thereof) than is typically theorized in standard models of deterrence.
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