Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland
- Repressing civilians strengthens the terrorist movement, while supporting them could deplete it.
In their article, “Moving Beyond Deterrence: The Effectiveness of Raising the Expected Utility of Abstaining from Terrorism in Israel,” Dugan and Chenoweth assess the effects of repression and conciliation by the Israeli government on terrorist attacks by Palestinians and find that repression is associated with increases in attacks and conciliation is associated with decreases. These findings are especially true when Israel’s action affects the general Palestinian population. The authors conclude that while it is important that terrorists be punished, most research evidence shows that in the context of terrorism, punishment does not deter other terrorists from acting. Further, greater attention should be paid to how counterterrorism efforts affect the people that terrorist claim to support. These findings strongly suggest that repressing civilians strengthens the terrorist movement, while supporting them could deplete it. See this article for more discussion on this topic.