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The Second Intifada: A Dual Strategy Arena

  • Nada Matta (a1) and René Rojas (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

Dominant theories fail to explain the use of terror during the Second Palestinian Intifada. Notably, they fail to explain Hamas’s abandonment of suicide attacks by 2005. We classified the universe of fatalities on both sides and examined the conflict’s patterns of lethal violence. Our analysis of fatality ratios and rates of change by fatality category supports a dual-arena theory of terror. Noting a rapid increase of indiscriminate Israeli civilian deaths and a relative evening out within this category in the conflict’s initial phase, we demonstrate that externally Hamas aimed to improve the balance of forces to compel Israel to negotiate on equal terms using the “out-suffering” mechanism. Internally, Hamas used terror to build confrontational capacity by attracting Palestinian factions to a resistance pole and isolating conciliatory elites. When their continued deployment became too costly relative to emerging options, the campaign was swiftly called off. In the end, while based on strategic calculations, Hamas’s use of terror proved to be a failure.

Résumé

Les théories dominantes peinent à expliquer l’usage de la terreur au cours de la seconde Intifada palestinienne. Elles échouent en particulier à expliquer l’abandon par le Hamas du recours aux attaques suicides dès 2005. Cet article est basé sur la classification des décès pour les deux parties du conflit et l’examen de la variété des types de violence léthale. L’étude des ratio de décès et des taux de changement par catégorie vient à l’appui d’une théorie de la terreur dite de la « double arène ». A partir de l’observation des variations des morts civils israéliens indiscriminés durant les différentes phases du conflit, nous démontrons que, d’un point de vue externe, l’objectif du Hamas a été de modifier l’équilibre des forces pour contraindre Israël à négocier dans des termes plus avantageux. D’un point de vue interne, le Hamas a utilisé la terreur pour consolider sa capacité confrontationnelle en unifiant les factions palestiniennes autour d’un pôle de résistance et en isolant les élites les plus conciliantes. Lorsque cette stratégie s’est révélée trop coûteuse, la campagne a rapidement été interrompue. Au final, bien que fondé sur des calculs stratégiques, l’usage de la terreur par le Hamas s’est révélé être un échec.

Zusammenfassung

Der Terroreinsatz während der zweiten Intifada kann nur schwer durch herkömmliche Theorien erklärt werden. Es bleibt vor allen Dingen ungeklärt, weshalb die Hamas seit 2005 auf Selbstmordattentate verzichtet. Diese Untersuchung stützt sich auf die Klassifizierung der Todesursache beider am Konflikt beteiligten Parteien und analysiert die Verschiedenartigkeit der tödlichen Gewaltakte. Die Studie der Todesquoten und der Wechselrate je nach Kategorie verhärtet die Theorie der sogenannten doppelten Arena. Ausgehend von einem rasanten Anstieg der „indiskriminierten“ Todesursache bei israelischen Zivilisten und einem relativen Ausgleich innerhalb dieser Kategorie zu Beginn des Konflikts, zeigen wir, dass die Hamas nach außen versucht hat, das Kräftespiel zu ihren Gunsten zu verändern und günstigere Verhandlungsbedingungen von den Israelis zu erzwingen. Nach innen hat die Hamas den Terror benutzt, um ihre Konfrontationsfähigkeit auszubauen, indem sie palästinensische Faktionen in einem Widerstandspol vereint und konziliante Eliten isoliert hat. Schließlich ist der Terroreinsatz der Hamas gescheitert und dies trotz strategischem Kalkül.

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European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie
  • ISSN: 0003-9756
  • EISSN: 1474-0583
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie
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