Longo, Matthew . Canetti, Daphna. Hite,Nancy (2013). A Checkpoint Effect? Evidence from a Natural Experiment on Travel Restrictions in the West Bank. American Journal of Political Science.
Does non-violent repression prompt subject groups to obey or rebel? By what mechanism does it do so? To address these questions we exploit a natural experiment based on a 2009 policy towards the ‘easement’ of checkpoints – non-violent impediments to movement – in the West Bank. We sample populations across 17 villages (n=599), beside one checkpoint slated for easement (treatment) and one that will undergo no change (control), before and after the intervention. We then pursue difference-in-difference estimation. This design is experimental, as easement was orthogonal to Palestinian attitudes; for robustness, we test our findings against an independent panel (n=1200). We find that easement makes subject populations less likely to support violence; we suggest humiliation as the mechanism bridging non-violent repression with militancy. This warrants rethinking Israeli security policy, as short-term concerns over Palestinian mobility may be compromising Israel’s long-term interests. By extension, checkpoint easement may positively affect peace negotiations.