Legitimacy and Support for Palestinian Insurgent Groups During the Second Intifada

Fuller, Holly, Foreign Affairs - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Schulhofer-Wohl, Jonah, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Lynch, Allen

When multiple groups are operating in a civil war context, individuals have a choice in deciding whom to support. To examine how people make this decision, existing research focuses on material incentives, defiance, and pleasure in agency. This paper offers an alternative explanation. It examines whether the legitimacy of an insurgent group during the Second Intifada leads to support. Using opinion polls from the Second Intifada on the level of trust for the Palestinian factions compared to the lagged level of support, this paper finds the legitimacy theory to be plausible. While additional testing is needed, shifts in trust lead to similar shifts in support for Palestinian groups. An exploratory case study of Hamas and its provision of services, a necessary but not sufficient condition for legitimacy, is performed to begin to examine qualitatively the legitimacy hypothesis.

MA (Master of Arts)
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