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Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. This is because the Israeli public grew accustomed to chronic terrorism and possessed a high level of social resilience. At a time when terrorist attacks and thwarted plots regularly dominate the news headlines, when long queues at airport security checks have become all-too-common, and when once innocuous items drinks, shoes, backpacks can become the means of deadly attacks, it is clear that the threat of terrorism hangs over us as never before.
Indeed, terrorism is widely considered to be the greatest security challenge of our time.
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Many societies around the world are now faced with the prospect of endemic terrorism on their own soil. The September 11, , terrorist attack in the United States; the March 11, , terrorist attack in Spain; and the July 7, , terrorist attack in Britain these are all unlikely to be one-off events.
Rather, the United States and many other Western democracies can expect more terrorist attacks in the future. What affect will such attacks have on these countries? What kinds of domestic effects are they likely to produce? It is sometimes argued that the effects of terrorism are quite minimal, and that the current concern with terrorism is well out of proportion to the threat that terrorism actually poses. But counting fatalities from terrorist attacks is the crudest and most simplistic way to measure the impact of terrorism. The consequences of terrorist attacks often go far beyond the deaths and destruction they cause.
The effects of terrorism are not limited to its actual victims. They can be wide-ranging and far-reaching. They include the direct and indirect economic costs of terrorist attacks, the psychological effects of terrorism upon the population, and the social and political impact of terrorist attacks. This article will discuss these different kinds of effects with the aim of presenting a fuller picture of the impact of terrorism on a society.
In doing so, I will draw extensively upon recent research into the effects of terrorism conducted by psychologists, sociologists, economists, and political scientists.
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Brought together, this research into the psychological, economic, social, and political effects of terrorism enables us to develop a more comprehensive and integrated understanding of the overall impact of terrorism. This article, therefore, uses the Israeli experience during the second Palestinian Intifada as a case study to illustrate various effects of terrorism. Most discussions of terrorism today are concerned with counter-terrorism and the objectives and tactics of terrorist groups, whereas less attention is generally paid to thinking about the impact of terrorist attacks on targeted societies.
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The focus on counter-terrorism is understandable given the emphasis placed by politicians and the general public on preventing terrorist attacks. We are, however, unlikely to completely eliminate terrorism—a type of political violence whose history dates back thousands of years. In so far as the effects of terrorism can be minimized, the overall effectiveness of terrorism can be reduced.
Thus, studying the severity and longevity of the effects of terrorism is crucial to assessing its effectiveness. Numerous studies have now been conducted on the psychological effects of terrorism on individuals. Another avenue of research has been on the social psychological effects of terrorism, such as the impact of terrorism on xenophobia within a society, on group stereotypes, and on the attitudes and ideological orientation of the targeted population. Finally, within the field of political science there is an increasing amount of literature about the political effects of terrorism, mostly focusing on the impact of terrorist attacks on public opinion, elections, government policy, and peace processes.
Terrorist attacks are deliberately designed to instil fear and intimidate a population in order to achieve a political objective. But how successful are terrorist groups in achieving their political objectives? There is no agreement among scholars on this critical issue. While some have highlighted the political gains that terrorist groups have achieved, others have argued that terrorism often backfires politically and is not an effective strategy against democratic states. This article also addresses the question of whether terrorism works, but from a slightly different perspective—it looks at the overall impact of terrorism on the targeted population.
To understand how effective terrorism as a strategy is, it is necessary to assess its impact upon the targeted society. Terrorists hope that by sowing fear and panic within the targeted public, this will pressure the government to act in ways they desire. In other words, creating public fear, panic, anxiety, distress etc. By examining how terrorism affects its audience, therefore, we can gauge the effectiveness of terrorism as a strategy.
I will do this by investigating the impact of Palestinian terrorism on Israeli society during the second Intifada. In this article, I hope to contribute to the ongoing scholarly debate about the effectiveness of terrorism in a number of specific ways.
First, in considering the economic, psychological, and social effects of terrorism as well as its political effects, the article provides a more complete account of the impact of terrorism than studies that narrowly look at its political effects alone. The political effects of terrorism should be looked at in a broader context.
Second, instead of just examining the consequences of a single terrorist attack, this article investigates the effects of repeated terrorist attacks on the targeted society. It would seem logical to expect that repeated exposure—direct and indirect—to terrorist attacks and living with the constant possibility of sudden violent death, would severely affect a society.
But is this really the case?
Do repeated deadly terror attacks create more public fear and insecurity or do they have a progressively weaker affect on the population? Do societies become traumatized by prolonged terrorism or can they learn to live with it? I argue that a society can gradually grow accustomed to chronic terrorism, and consequently, its impact declines.
In short, societies can effectively become habituated to terrorism and learn to cope with it. Third, by using the example of Israeli society during the second Intifada to illustrate this argument, this article offers an in-depth case study of the effectiveness of terrorism—or its lack thereof—and thus complements the more quantitative, statistically based studies that characterize a lot of political science work on this topic.
Unfortunately for Israelis, Israel represents an excellent case study for analyzing the effects of chronic terrorism. Although it is not the only country to have experienced endemic terrorism—Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland are two other examples—no country has endured more acts of terrorism over a prolonged period than Israel.
From before the state was established in and ever since then, Israelis have been the targets of terrorist attacks, both within Israel and around the world. Indeed, the history of modern terrorism is linked to the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Arab militant groups have pioneered new terrorist tactics notably, airplane hijackings and suicide bombings and carried out some of the best known terrorist attacks in history such as the hostage-taking of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games.
The threat of terrorism has long been a fact of life for Israelis. Finally, the conclusion of this article emphasizes the importance of social resilience in coping with terrorism. I argue that Israeli society was able to cope with relentless terrorism during the second Intifada and quickly recover from it because it possessed a high level of social resilience. It is therefore essential to recognize the importance of social resilience and understand what contributes to it in order to better manage the threat of terrorism and maybe even to one day conquer it.
It was much more far-reaching and profound, as this article will show. Suicide terrorist attacks were a prominent feature of the second Intifada. These suicide terror attacks were responsible for a large proportion of Israeli casualties.
Among the most notorious suicide attacks were the bombing at the Dolphinarium disco in Tel Aviv on 1 June that killed twenty-one people most of them teenagers ; the bombing at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem on 9 August that killed fifteen; and the bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya on the Jewish Passover holiday on 27 March that killed thirty. Apart from the many deaths and injuries resulting from these terrorist attacks, what other effects did they have? In the following sections of this article, I will try to answer this question by discussing the psychological, economic, social, and political effects of terrorism, and describing how these effects manifested themselves in Israel during the period of the second Intifada.
The first and most immediate effects of terrorism are psychological. Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare against a society. Suicide terrorism can be particularly effective in terrifying people because it projects an aura of fanaticism, which makes the threat of future attacks seem more likely. It does not, however, affect everyone to an equal degree.
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This suggests that the more educated a person is, the less likely they are to succumb to the irrational fear evoked by terrorism. In the case of Israel, a large majority of Israeli civilians have long feared terrorism. In the spring of —when Palestinian suicide bombings inside Israel were most frequent—92 percent of Israelis reported fear that they or a member of their family would fall victim to a terrorist attack.
While this fear certainly had some basis, it was not grounded entirely in the facts, since the probability of themselves or a member of their family being killed or wounded in a terrorist attack was actually far smaller than what the Israeli public believed. Nevertheless, Palestinian terrorist attacks during the second Intifada affected a large number of Israelis.
Nineteen months into the second Intifada, In total, a staggering More than a third of Israelis who participated in a major psychological study reported at least one traumatic stress-related symptom TSR , with an average of four symptoms reported per person. Indeed, there is no statistically significant association between psychosocial responses to traumatic events and the level of exposure. Hence, a person who is injured in a terrorist attack is no more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than a person whose only connection to the attack was seeing it on television.
The psychological effect of terrorism that is easiest to quantify is the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. One of the major symptoms of PTSD is avoiding people or situations that remind one of the traumatic experience. PTSD can change the way people behave at home and at work; hence neither the private nor public sphere is immune from the harm caused by terror attacks. But the occurrence of PTSD varied considerably between men, women, and children, with 40 percent of Israeli children suffering from this disorder.
Different people are affected to different degrees.
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The psychological effects of terrorism are not limited to PTSD. For example, those who witness terrorist attacks but are not directly harmed are generally the last to be evacuated from the scene of the attack, since medics typically focus their attention on the casualties. The psychological effects of terrorism are by now well-documented.
What is less clear, however, is the psychological impact of repeated terrorist attacks. Do more terrorist attacks result in more psychological damage to the population or does their psychological impact diminish over time?