Book Project

Policing, Taxing, and Spending Without a State: The Origins and Effects of  Indirect Rule in the West Bank

The motivating question of this manuscript is: While under military rule, and in the absence of sovereignty, what does Palestinian self-government look like? Policing, Taxing, and Spending Without a State combines original, local-level data from the West Bank and rich qualitative evidence to show how Israel’s military occupation and approach to annexation has shaped Palestinian political institutions at the local level. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has often been treated as sui generis, Policing, Taxing, and Spending Without a State draws on extensive, field-based research to develop a theory of rule in settings of intractable conflict. Existing research in comparative politics on both states and rebel movements sheds light on how varied organizations can develop the core capacities to rule. Yet it does not clarify how prolonged military rule shapes the nature and capacities of political institutions. In such settings, an incumbent state or occupying power often exercises disproportionate coercive control, but, as conflict grinds on, other functions of governance are frequently shared with, or delegated to, local inhabitants. Building on empirical insights from the West Bank, this manuscript inductively develops a theory of how the goals of incumbent states in control of contested territory produce different annexation strategies and, thus, different configurations of rule. Unlike regimes of direct rule or settings where indigenous nationalists achieve fully autonomous self-rule, indirect rule regimes distort the core functions of governance — coercion, extraction, and the production and distribution of public goods — affecting the state-building projects of both the occupying state and its challengers.