Social scientists have explained the rise of suicide bombing since the early 1980s by focusing on the characteristics of suicide bombers, the cultural matrix in which they operate, and the strategic calculations they make to maximize their gains. We offer an alternative approach that emphasizes the interaction between Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli government actions, analyzing the motivations, organizational rationales and precipitants for the 138 suicide bombings that took place in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza between October 2000 and July 2005. Using several sources, including Arabic newspapers, we find that much of the impetus for Palestinian suicide bombing can be explained by the desire to retaliate against Israeli killings of Palestinians; and that much of the impetus for Israeli killings of Palestinians can be explained by the desire to retaliate for suicide bombings.


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pp. 1969-1986
Launched on MUSE
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