Countering Palestinian Terrorism in Israel

Toward a Policy Analysis of Countermeasures

by Hanan Alon

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A suggested approach to the policy issue of what and how much should be done by the Government of Israel to counter the objective threat of Palestinian terrorism. Palestinian terrorism is defined as Palestinian acts of low-level violence carried out for a political purpose, with the intent of inflicting casualties and damage as well as inducing fear and rage in Israeli society, and by so doing to incite Israel to react. After a historical analysis of Palestinian violence and Israeli countermeasures, the study focuses on current perceptions and observations. Terrorism is perceived by Israeli society as a major threat, both as a threat to the individual and as damaging to the national image. The perception of terrorism, however, is out of proportion to the share of terrorism in causing casualties, the reasons for which are given. The author suggests that Israel reduce the discrepancy in resource allocation among all casualty-preventing programs (say, preventing car accidents as well as countering terrorism); ameliorate society's perception of the subjective danger of terrorism; and, in general, to not react as expected to terrorist provocations. The study was prepared as a dissertation for the RAND Graduate Institute.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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