De-mobilizing a Mobilized Society: The Effect of the Palestinian Authority on Political Engagement


Despite high levels of mass mobilization in the past, Palestinian society today finds itself polarized and demobilized. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has gained control as a governing apparatus and has become increasingly authoritarian in nature. But the PA does not have complete control over the territories. This variation in control allows isolation of the effect of the PA's authoritarian nature on mobilization patterns and social dynamics. The study argues that mobilization has systematically declined in places where the PA has more direct control. Counter-intuitively, political mobilization today is more prevalent in areas under direct Israeli occupation. Findings suggest the PA has a direct role in this dynamic, using selective cooptation and repression. Overall, authoritarian strategies in the Palestinian territories have led to decreased capacity for mobilization.

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