Poverty, Fundamentalism and Terrorism

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How are poverty, fundamentalism, and terrorism interrelated in the Gaza Strip? We study this question in Israel and other countries, from different perspectives such as political economy and public policy. For instance, we looked at how Palestinians’ voting behavior is influenced by Israel’s policy regarding the blockade of Gaza.

Policy Papers | Poverty, Fundamentalism and Terrorism | 1.11.2019 

Poverty, Fundamentalism, and Terrorism

This study examines the interrelation between freedom of movement in Gaza and political voting

The Political Economy of the Gaza Strip

Amit Loewenthal and Dr. Sami Miaar

The economy and the standard of living in Gaza depend on the ability of people and goods to enter and exit its borders. Since Hamas took over the Strip, Israel has employed different combative policy measures against Hamas’ political violence, including military strikes and restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip (“The Siege on Gaza”). There are two ways to approach the effectiveness of this policy. The first argues that a combative policy would create deterrence, isolate Hamas, and would turn the inhabitants of Gaza against Hamas. The second argues that this policy would create pushback and would aggravate the cycle of violence. However, a quantitative analysis of Israel’s policy influence on Palestinian public opinion in the Strip has never been done before. 

To establish this hypothesis, we conducted a quantitative analysis of the interrelation between the combative policy measures and Palestinian support of radical factions who support violent resistance against Israel and reject the two-state solution (e.g. Hamas) - compared to Palestinian support of moderate factions who support this solution (e.g. Fatah). We isolate this influence by comparing public opinion differences between the West Bank and Gaza before the implementation of these policy measures, and the public opinion differences after the policy measures implementation (known as the “difference-in-difference” method). To do that, we use detailed data on the economic conditions, public opinion, and the intensity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We find that not only has Israel’s policy failed to turn the inhabitants of Gaza against Hamas, it might have yielded an opposite reaction. A solution to the conflict and a reconstruction of the Gaza Strip must include a policy change and the removal of restrictions on the movement of people and goods, as well as a reconstruction of public and political institutions in Gaza.