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Title: From religion to revenge: becoming a Hamas suicide bomber
Authors: Araj, Bader 
Keywords: Palestine - History - Al-Aqsa Intifada - 2001-
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel
Abstract: The second Palestinian intifada, or “uprising,” triggered by the visit of Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, on 28 September 2000 and lasting until 2005, was far deadlier than any other confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 1967. It started two months after the failure of a serious attempt to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Camp David, where the Israeli government had been willing to make the biggest concessions ever, so from the Israeli perspective it presumably showed that the Palestinians were trying to force them to offer more concessions. The timing was challenging for Israel in several ways. Since the uprising erupted four months after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, the Israeli military could not let another challenge to its power pass without proving it still retained its once-vaunted deterrent capability. In addition, the first months of the intifada coincided with the Israeli electoral campaign, and Prime Minster Ehud Barak wanted to show the Israeli public that his policies toward the Palestinians were no softer than those of his rival, Ariel Sharon. The confluence of these factors may explain why the Israeli army adopted a harsh and repressive policy from the very beginning of the uprising despite the fact that the levels and kinds of violence of the Palestinian protest, at least during its first three months, were roughly similar to the demonstrations, marches, and stone throwing of the First Intifada (1987–93). Harsh Israeli repression, in turn, partially explains why the second uprising witnessed an unprecedented number of suicide attacks: of the approximately 200 Palestinian suicide bombings since they first employed this tactic, in 1993, 173 were conducted during the Second Intifada.
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