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NCJ Number: 200062 Find in a Library
Title: Palestinian Suicide Terrorism in the Second Intifada: Motivations and Organizational Aspects
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:26  Issue:2  Dated:March-April 2003  Pages:65-92
Author(s): Assaf Moghadam
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores various issues related to Palestinian suicide terrorism by presenting a two-phase model to explain the processes and factors underlying the development of Palestinian suicide bombers and the execution of suicide bombing attacks.
Abstract: The model is applied to the suicide attacks that occurred during the first 21 months of the Second Intifada, from September 2000 to June 2002. The framework of analysis developed assumes that suicide terrorism is both an individual and an organizational phenomenon. The model focuses on two sets of motives: those of the individual Palestinian who is recruited to be a suicide bomber and the organization that promotes suicide bombings and recruits and trains the individual suicide bomber. Individual motives for becoming a suicide bomber may include the desire to reap expected benefits in the afterlife, the urge to seek revenge for the death or injury of a close friend or family member, or the real or perceived humiliation that stems from the Israeli occupation. In examining the motivations of the suicide bomber, this article considers various aspects of religious motives, personal motives, nationalist motives, economic motives, and the sociological aspects. The motives of the organizations that promote suicide attacks include political aims of and tactical considerations for the use of suicide bombings. In the case of the Palestinian terrorist organization of Hamas, the organizational official goal of suicide bombings might include the destruction of Israel, and the operative goals may be to derail the peace process, enhance the organization's prestige among vengeful Palestinians, establish itself as an opposition to be feared, and show that the Palestinians will not accept Israel's armed occupation without a fight. These two sets of motives (individual and organizational) converge at the recruitment stage, when organizations identify and mobilize individuals who have professed a willingness to die in a suicide bombing. It is at the recruitment stage when the first phase ("motivational stage") ends and the second phase ("institutional phase") begins. During the institutional phase, the "volunteer for martyrdom" comes completely under the control of the organization. During this phase, the volunteer is indoctrinated and trained by the organization, which molds the individual recruit into a highly committed "living martyr." The organization takes steps to ensure that the individual's commitment is reinforced and made even stronger to ensure that there is no backing out as the time for the bombing approaches. This institutional phase, which usually lasts a number of days, culminates in the execution of the actual suicide terrorism attack. This article profiles the Palestinian organizations that use suicide terrorism, including their tactics of recruitment, training, and indoctrination, along with the planning and execution of the suicide bombing attacks. 100 notes
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Arab terrorist groups; Bombings; Islamic law; Middle East; Motivation; Politically motivated violent crimes; Religiously motivated violence; Terrorist ideologies; Terrorist tactics; Terrorist weapons
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