The ability of a government to prevent violence and threats against the state and its citizens depends on the government’s ability to deter enemies from engaging in such tactics. Because deterrence relies on both capabilities and credibility it is not clear that governments that emerge within the same state are similarly effective at deterring attacks. We examine whether partisan politics and the decision to use force against an enemy or those thought to be associated with an enemy—in our case terrorists—affects successful deterrence. We test our expectations using data from the Israeli-Palestine conflict between the years 1979 and 2003. The results suggest that governments of the right are more effective at using force to deter future terrorist attacks.