ThesisPDF Available

Fear Management in Counter-Terrorism – A Study of Framing Approaches during the Second Intifada

Authors:
Fear Management in Counter-Terrorism
A Study of Framing Approaches during the Second Intifada
Master Thesis in Crisis and Security Management
Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs
Leiden University
Name: Johanna Pohl
Student ID: S1624083
E-Mail: jpohl@icct.nl
Date: 9 June 2016
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker
2
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 3
2. Literature Review 7
2.1 The Fear of Terrorism in its Psychological Context 7
2.2 The Influence of Threat Communication on the Fear of Terrorism 11
3. Theoretical Framework 16
3.1 Framing and Sense Making in the Aftermath of Crises 16
3.2 Research Question & Hypotheses 17
4. Methodology 20
4.1 Research Design 20
4.2 Limitations 23
5. Background: The Second Intifada, September 2000 February 2005 25
6. Analysis 29
7. Discussion 55
7.1 Unity Framing 55
7.2 Divisive, ‘Us vs. Them’ Framing 56
7.3 Resilience Framing 58
7.4 The Blame Game 58
7.5 Summary of Findings 59
8. Conclusion 61
References 64
3
1. Introduction
The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and
any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won't depend on tough talk,
or abandoning our values, or giving into fear. That's what groups like ISIL are hoping
for. Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless […].
1
Barack Obama, 7 December 2015
Addressing the American people after the terror attack in San Bernardino in December 2015,
President Obama emphasized that the determination of success or failure of the terrorists
depends first and foremost on the citizens themselves: Terrorists could not fulfill their deathly
mission so long as the targeted society will not abandon its principles of freedom, tolerance and
human dignity, and refuses to succumb to fear by uniting around its common values.
The above quote thus aptly illustrates the goals and dynamics underlying successful counter-
terrorism efforts. More than just incapacitating an enemy and thereby preventing physical
attacks, an important part of public leaders’ responsibilities in counter-terrorism lies in limiting
the impact of an attack on their constituencies, in other words, to manage the fear that the
terrorists want to spread.
In his appeal to strength and resilience in the face of the fear spread by terrorism, Obama echoes
European leaders, such as French President François Hollande and British Prime Minister
David Cameron, who, after both the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels
in March 2016, identified the objective of the attackers as “sow[ing] fear in order to divide us”
2
and called for citizens to “stand together and show that we will never be cowed by terror.
3
1
‘Transcript: President Obama's address to the nation on the San Bernardino terror attack and the war on ISIS’,
CNN, 7 December 2015, http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/06/politics/transcript-obama-san-bernardino-isis-
address/index.html (accessed 8.5.2016).
2
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, ‘Speech by the President of the Republic
before a joint session of Parliament, 16 November 2015’, http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-
policy/defence-security/parisattacks-paris-terror-attacks-november-2015/article/speech-by-the-president-of-the-
republic-before-a-joint-session-of-parliament (accessed 22.03.2016).
3
‘David Cameron: UK must defend Christian values against terror’, BBC News, 27 March 2016,
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35904018 (accessed 05.06.2016).
4
While this current wave of Islamist terrorism has only quite recently increased its foothold in
Europe, other societies have been experiencing outgrowths of the very same violent extremist
ideology for decades. Looking at the case of Israel, in particular, one can observe how both
politicians and citizens have made sense of being confronted with terrorism on a fairly regular
basis, and how they have dealt with a challenge that many European societies and politicians
have yet to grasp.
Small and close-knit societies, such as the Israeli one, are, in theory, particularly vulnerable to
terrorism: When an attack happens, there is a much higher probability of knowing a victim than
in larger and more loosely connected societies.
4
Figuratively speaking, the impact of an attack
‘hits closer to home’, is felt more strongly through the personal connection. This heightened
second-hand exposure was recorded, for instance, 19 months into the protracted violence of the
Second Intifada, with 16.4% of Israelis being directly exposed to an attack and 37.3% in an
indirect manner, by way of personally knowing a victim.
5
By comparison, only 10% of
Americans reported knowing someone who was hurt or killed in the 9/11 attacks.
6
It has been suggested that a period of protracted conflict providing both continuous and
extensive exposure to traumatic events would result in an increasingly negative impact on
society with regard to stress levels and anxiety.
7
And yet, studies conducted during the Second
Intifada paint a different picture: Although 58% of respondents reported feeling depressed
about the security situation, optimism about respondents personal futures was recorded at 82%,
and 74% of respondents indicated that they would be able to function during an attack.
Moreover, the prevalence of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among respondents was
recorded at just 9.4%, which is low compared to those rates reported two months after 9/11 for
persons living near the World Trade Center (20%) and even those living outside of New York
City (17%).
8
Likewise, only 5.3% of respondents indicated that they had sought professional
4
Close-knit is used here to refer to the degrees of separation felt by Israeli Jews, who often share acquaintances
throughout large social circles, rather than a lack of societal cleavages, which are of course, highly present in that
country.
5
D. Waxmann, ‘Living with Terror, not Living in Terror: The Impact of Chronic Terrorism on Israeli Society’,
Perspectives on Terrorism, vol. 5, no. 5-6, 2011, pp. 4-26, p. 9.
6
Pew Research Centre, ‘Americans and 9/11: The Personal Toll’, 5 September 2002, http://www.people-
press.org/2002/09/05/i-americans-and-911-the-personal-toll/ (accessed 22.03.2016).
7
A.P. Schmid, ‘Links between Terrorism and Migration: An Exploration’, The International Centre for Counter-
Terrorism The Hague 7, no. 4, 2016.
8
S. Galea et al., ‘Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City’, New England
Journal of Medicine, vol. 346, 2002, pp. 982-987; R.C. Silver et al., ‘Nationwide longitudinal study of
psychological responses to September 11’, The Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 288, 2002, pp.
1235-1244. Note that the PTSD rate in the Israeli sample is also lower than a general rate given by Bakker & De
Graaf, indicating the prevalence of PTSD at 23% - 29% of a population that experienced an attack: E. Bakker &
5
help due to anxiety.
9
These findings led the authors of the study to conclude that, given the
length and nature of the traumatic experience, the resulting psychological impact on Israelis
was only moderate.
Many factors may influence the degree of terrorism impact and the resulting fear within society:
The authors of the above-cited study suggest that positive coping mechanisms and an
accommodation effect probably play a significant role.
10
Schmid points to a row of other, more
objective variables, such as the source of the terror, the likelihood of an attack occurring again,
the object of victimization and a person’s relationship to it, the phasing of the attack(s), and
one’s ability to deal with or avoid terror-prone situations in the future.
11
While it is difficult to determine a general dominant factor, we know that public leadership and
discourse play a significant role in how a constituency perceives and interprets a crisis
situation,
12
under which, as will be argued later in this thesis, a terrorist attack falls. Yet, most
research on the impact of terrorism has so far focused on the prevalence of psychopathological
disorders within a society after an attack,
13
and while crisis management scholars have
examined the general role of leadership and communication in the crisis management process,
14
few studies actually focus on public discourse and framing as a means to manage fear in the
aftermath of a terrorist attack.
15
To this author’s knowledge, no such study has been conducted
on Israeli leaders’ rhetoric, despite the interesting case that this country presents for both
terrorism research and counter-terrorism practice.
B. de Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management in the Counter-Terrorism Domain’, The International
Centre for Counter-Terrorism The Hague 5, no. 2, 2014, p. 5.
9
A. Bleich et al., ‘Exposure to Terrorism, Stress-Related Mental Health Symptoms, and Coping Behaviors
Among a National Representative Sample in Israel’, The Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 290,
no. 5, 2003, pp: 612-620.
10
Ibid.
11
A. Schmid, ‘Terrorism as Psychological Warfare’, Democracy and Security, 2005, pp. 137-46.
12
A. Masters & P. ‘t Hart, ‘Prime ministerial rhetoric and recession politics: Meaning making in economic crisis
management’, Public Administration, vol. 90, no. 3, pp.759-780, p. 17.
13
S.J. Sinclair & D. Antonius (eds.), The Psychology of Terrorism Fears. Oxford, Oxford University Press,
2012, p. 79.
14
See for example A. Boin et al., The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership under Pressure, New
York: Cambridge University Press, 2005; P. ‘t Hart, ‘Symbols, Rituals and Power: The Lost Dimensions of
Crisis Management’, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, vol. 1, no. 1, 1993, pp 36-50.
15
See for example M.J. Canel & K. Sanders, ‘Crisis Communication and Terrorist Attacks: Framing a Response
to the 2004 Madrid Bombings and 2005 London Bombings’, in T. Coombs & S. Holladay (eds.), The Handbook
of Crisis Communication, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, pp. 449-466; T. Christensen et al., ‘How to cope with a
terrorist attack? A challenge for the political and administrative leadership’, COCOPS Working Paper No. 6,
June 2012, http://www.cocops.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/COCOPS_workingpaper_No6.pdf (accessed
3.4.2016).
6
Investigating a case in which public leaders have already gained experience in responding to
terrorist attacks, this thesis will examine the fear management efforts of Israeli government
actors during the Second Intifada, aiming to answer the following question:
Which fear management framing approaches did Israeli government actors use in their
responses to terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada and how do these relate to the
body of knowledge on fear management?
In the absence of a fully-developed theory on fear management, this paper first synthesizes
literature from the crisis management, psychology, and communications fields, and thereby
intends to contribute to the development of such a theory. It then derives three fear management
framing approaches from the literature in three hypotheses to be tested in the analysis of this
thesis. Following this theoretical part and the introduction of the research design, a short
background on the Second Intifada is given, after which the cases are examined, in which
official responses and media commentaries after a selected number of terrorist attacks during
the Second Intifada are analyzed for the three framing approaches that literature suggests to be
favorable to fear management purposes. Subsequently, a discussion evaluates the findings of
the thesis.
7
2. Literature Review
Fear management as a theoretical concept stands at the nexus of three major academic
disciplines: It forms part of political science, or more particularly, public administration in its
crisis management literature, it draws on psychology in the study of fear, and it relates to
communication studies in how the messages of terrorists and those countering them are
transmitted and received. Thus, much like the study of terrorism itself, fear management as a
part of counter-terrorism is by nature an interdisciplinary concept and warrants an analytical
approach that adequately reflects its multiple dimensions. Research on fear management as a
strategic practice of counter-terrorism is, perhaps due to this interdisciplinary nature, yet to be
fully developed, and listed among Schmid’s 50 un- and under-researched topics in the field of
terrorism studies.
16
Analyzing governmental practice in the fear management domain, Bakker
and de Graaf use the following definition for the term, which presents a starting point also for
the research presented in this thesis:
The efforts, undertaken by governmental institutions, prior, during and after situations
of emergency and recovery, relating to a terrorist threat or attack, to manipulate the
human capital in society in order to improve the positive, collective coping mechanisms
of that society.”
17
While this definition clearly reflects a public administration-centric approach, it is necessary to
first take a closer look at the psychology of terrorism in order to understand both individual and
collective reactions to terrorist attacks, and consequently, to be able to analyze the nature and
dynamics of governmental efforts in their aftermath.
2.1 The Fear of Terrorism in its Psychological Context
Despite the contested nature of the term ‘terrorism’, fear is widely regarded to be one of its
constitutive elements. For instance, spreading fear forms part of Schmid & Jongman’s academic
consensus definition of terrorism, as well as of the majority of all definitions that were reviewed
16
The list of topics refers, in particular, to two central aspects of fear management, i.e. responsible crisis
communication before, during and after terrorist attacks, and strengthening public resilience. A.P. Schmid, ‘50
Un- and Under-researched Topics in the Field of (Counter-) Terrorism Studies’. Perspectives on Terrorism, vol.
5, no. 1, 2011, pp. 76-78.
17
Bakker & de Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management’, p. 1.
8
to arrive at the above.
18
Terrorism is thus never the mere use of violence, but violence with the
purpose to provoke reactions on part of both politicians and publics in order to achieve a
political or religious goal. Spreading fear is essential for terrorists in order to reach their
intended targets, who lie beyond the immediate circle of victims in the constituencies that these
victims have emerged from and their public leaders. Richard Jackson’s definition thus
accurately captures the essence of terrorism from the angle of spreading fear, as
violence or its threat intended as a symbolically communicative act in which the direct
victims of the action are instrumentalized as a means of creating a psychological effect
of intimidation and fear in a target audience”.
19
As a basis for this thesis, fear is defined as “a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the
presence or imminence of danger”.
20
From a biological perspective, fear is an essential physical
reaction, enabling our bodies to react with ‘fight or flight’ responses in dangerous situations.
The basic fear instinct is what allows human beings to survive in the face of threats to our
existence and adapt and evolve as a species.
21
However, in particular with regard to terrorism,
it has been repeatedly observed that fear within society often reaches levels disproportionate to
the actual risk of victimization,
22
with studies suggesting that people may alter their behavior,
political beliefs and support for their governments as a result of that fear.
23
Terrorism, in turn, is sustained by these disproportionate levels of fear and anxiety. Reviewing
psychological research on the relationship between terrorism and fear since the attacks of 9/11,
Sinclair and Antonius find three general patterns: First, psychiatric disorders and general levels
of stress increase following an act of terrorism; second, this impact is felt more strongly by
populations directly exposed, but carries over to a significant extent to populations outside the
epicenters of attacks; and third, psychological distress generally declines over time in most
populations. It is important to note, however, that most scholarship on the psychological
18
See for example: A.P. Schmid (Ed.), Handbook of Terrorism Research. London, Routledge, 2011, pp. 86-87;
B. Ganor, The Counter-Terrorism Puzzle: A Guide for Decision-Makers. New Brunswick, Transaction
Publishers, 2005, pp. 16-17.
19
R. Jackson, ‘In defence of terrorism: finding a way through a forest of misconceptions’, Behavioral Sciences
of Terrorism and Political Aggression, vol. 3, pp. 116-130, p. 123.
20
The Free Dictionary, 2015, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fear (accessed 01.6.2016).
21
Sinclair & Antonius, The Psychology of Terrorism Fears. p. 49.
22
See for example: R. Marshall et al., ‘The psychology of ongoing threat: Relative risk appraisal, the September
11 attacks, and terrorism-related fears’, American Psychologist, vol. 62, no. 4, 2007, pp. 304-316;
E. Bakker & T. Veldhuis, ‘A Fear Management Approach to Counter-Terrorism’, The International Centre for
Counter-Terrorism The Hague 3, no. 1, 2012; Bakker & de Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management in
the Counter-Terrorism Domain’.
23
Sinclair & Antonius, The Psychology of Terrorism Fears, p. 103.
9
reactions to terrorist attacks has focused on the prevalence of psychopathological disorders,
such as PTSD, within targeted populations. The researchers make a convincing argument that
there is still a lack of knowledge about the impact of an ongoing, anticipatory fear related to
terrorism in society today, distinct from discrete forms of psychiatric illness, which continues
to be present even when rates of PTSD are declining.
24
This underlying sense of fear is also referred to by Furedi in what he terms a ‘culture of fear’.
Describing contemporary society’s tendency to interpret its environment through a narrative of
fear, Furedi paints a critical picture of a world in which all of human experience is being
perceived as risk to be managed. The continuous presence of largely individuated, low-grade
fears in public spaces, such as the fear of an abstract terrorist threat, is perpetuated by a media
that communicates risk information to its audiences, as well as by governments increasingly
disseminating messages focusing on public health and safety. A heightened self-perception of
vulnerability leads to an inflation and multiplication of intangible threats, resulting in a
perpetual state of fear within society. Thus, independent of a threat’s feasibility, fear has
become an objectified threat itself, detrimental to people’s actual well-being and, on a larger
scale, potentially resulting in suboptimal policy decisions.
25
Emphasizing the subjective nature of the perceived terrorist threat, many researchers have, for
instance, explained the psychological effects of terrorism from the perspective of Cognitive-
Behavioral Theory.
26
According to this line of thought, fear, including the fear of terrorism, is
the result of complex processes of interaction between an individual and his environment. As a
result of experiencing a terrorist attack, whether first-hand or through media exposure,
fundamental beliefs about safety are called into question, and schemata about personal safety
and security are damaged. Disproportionate fear of terrorism, it is argued, is a cognitive
distortion that manifests when people are constantly confronted with terrorist attacks through
the media as well as government communications, as arguably is the case in present-day
society. Through distorted cognitive filters, information about the threat of terrorism is often
24
Ibid, p. 79.
25
F. Furedi, Invitation to Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown. London: Continuum, 2007; F. Furedi,
'Fear and Security: A Vulnerability-led Policy Response', Social Policy & Administration, vol. 42, no. 6, 2008,
pp. 645661.
26
Cognitive-behavioral theory relies on the work of A. Beck, see for example: A.T. Beck, Cognitive Therapy
and the Emotional Disorders. New York: Basic Books, 1979; A. T. Beck, Cognitive Therapy of Depression.
New York: The Guilford Press, 1979. For a recent application of CBT, see Marshall et al., ‘The psychology of
ongoing threat’; Sinclair & Antonius, The Psychology of Terrorism Fears.
construed in all-or-nothing terms, producing both a sense of helplessness within people, as well
as an inability to stop focusing on the potential threat.
27
Marshall expresses similar notions in his concept of ‘relative risk appraisal’,
28
arguing that risk
estimates increase in situations with both a high level of perceived threat and a greater sense of
unpredictability, as is the case with the threat of terrorist attacks. This propensity to distort risk
is also described by Kahnemann and Tversky in what they term the ‘psychophysics of
chance’.
29
According to these authors, people have the tendency to give excessive weight to
improbable events, often leading to extreme risk-averse behavior in response to rare but
sensational threats. This dynamic is caused, among others, by ‘availability heuristics’ and
‘affect heuristics’, the former describing the tendency of people to think events more likely if
they have occurred recently, and the latter referring to the distortion of that same probability
due to vivid media coverage triggering emotional responses (for instance real-time coverage of
terrorism victims).
30
Sinclair and Antonius aptly visualize the impact of a heightened fear of terrorism on the
individual, both on the psychological and the physical level, in Figure 1.
31
Figure 1: A Cognitive-Behavioral Theory Model of the Psychological Impact of Terrorism.
27
Sinclair & Antonius, The Psychology of Terrorism Fears, p. 60.
28
Marshall et al., ‘The psychology of ongoing threat’.
29
D. Kahneman & A. Tversky, (eds.). Choices, values and frames. New York: Cambridge University
Press and the Russell Sage Foundation, 2000.
30
B. Forst, ‘Managing the Fear of Terrorism’, in B. Forst, J. Greene and J. Lynch (eds.), Criminologists on
Terrorism and Homeland Security. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 273-299.
31
Sinclair & Antonius, The Psychology of Terrorism Fears, p. 61.
Attempting to explain the psychological mechanism that underlies people’s reaction to terrorist
attacks, Terror Management Theory, as put forward by Pyszczynski, Solomon and Greenberg,
argues that human awareness of their own mortality is a powerful determinant of behavior in
the wake of terrorism. Terror Management Theory holds that when people are made aware of
their own mortality, as is the case when witnessing a terrorist attack either directly or indirectly
through media coverage, they react with actions that render their lives meaningful, in particular
validating their cultural worldview and boosting their self-esteem, in order to create a buffer
against the extreme fear of death and reduce anxiety. Accordingly, fear within a society after
an attack has been linked to increased nationalism and patriotism, intolerance for out-groups
and a desire for revenge, as well as support for hawkish counter-terrorism policies.
32
In the
same vein, public discourse following a terrorist attack often sees an upsurge in patriotic
symbolism and stereotyping of the perceived enemy both are mechanisms bolstering a
society’s existing cultural worldview and make sense of a confusing social world, thereby
suppressing the fear of death.
33
2.2 The Influence of Threat Communication on the Fear of Terrorism
As noted before, threat communication, whether through media or official outlets, is a key
determinant of people’s perception of the dangers of terrorism.
In its basic sense, one can understand terrorism as a form of communication. Tuman argues that
an act of terrorism fits neatly into a simple model of communication, with the terrorist
organization or individual as the sender, and the target public at large, an organization, a
government or a state as the receiver of a message. That message, however, is not the act of
violence or destruction itself, but rather lies within such activity, to be decoded by the intended
audience.
34
In order to get their message across, terrorists rely by and large on the news media. However,
media coverage of terrorist attacks is often criticized for playing into the hands of the terrorists
32
T. Pyszczynski, S. Solomon & J. Greenberg, In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror. Washington DC:
American Psychological Association, 2003, p. 101; C. H. Miller & M. J. Landau, ‘Communication and
Terrorism: A Terror Management Perspective’, Communication Research Reports, vol. 22, no. 1, 2005, pp. 79-
88.
33
Miller & Landau, ‘Communication and Terrorism’, p. 83.
34
J. Tuman, Communicating terror: The rhetorical dimensions of terrorism, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications,
2010, p. 32.
by providing a stage for their atrocities to reach the wider public. This notion was famously
proclaimed by then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985, who cautioned against
the excessive presentation of terrorist violence and brutality in the media, which she called the
terrorist’s “oxygen of publicity”.
35
The symbiotic relationship between terrorism and the media
whereby the media reaps the profits of the mass audience which the terrorist aims to intimidate
has been remarked upon by numerous scholars in the field.
36
Important here is to recognize
that the way in which modern media covers terrorism and attracts its audiences, namely by
eliciting emotional responses through sensational and continuous coverage of violence and
brutality,
37
is not only detrimental to their audience’s risk assessment capabilities, as the
frequency and length coverage is disproportional to the actual prevalence of attacks, but is also
likely to increase fear of terrorism among viewers, as ample evidence suggests in the case of
crime.
38
However, not only terrorism, but also counter-terrorism should be seen as an act of
communication. Bakker and De Graaf, for instance, maintain that counter-terrorism measures
are always communicative in character and have an impact on the “war on influence” between
the terrorist group and the state, whether intended or not.
39
De Graaf and de Graaff
conceptualize this communicative character of counter-terrorism as “performative power”,
40
arguing that governments, through the way in which they choose, frame, and present their
counter-terrorism measures, necessarily influence not only the impact of terrorism on a society,
but also the likelihood of potential future attacks. Specifically, the authors recommend that
governments should refrain from anxiety-increasing measures, such as inflaming public
discourse on terrorism with military rhetoric, or tapping into existing fears and rifts within
society.
41
35
M. Thatcher, Speech to the American Bar Association, 15 July 1985. Margaret Thatcher Foundation,
http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106096 (accessed 30.3.2016).
36
See for example A.H. Miller, Terrorism, the Media and the Law, New York: Transnational Publishers, 1982;
G. Weimann, ‘The Theater of Terror: The Psychology of Terrorism and the Mass Media’, Journal of Aggression,
Maltreatment & Trauma, vol. 9, no. 3-4, 2005, pp. 379-390; B. Nacos, Mass-Mediated Terrorism: The central
role of the media in terrorism and counterterrorism. Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2007; A. P. Schmid & J.
De Graaf, Violence as Communication: Insurgent Terrorism and the Western News Media. London and Beverly
Hills: SAGE Publications, 1982; Ganor, The Counter-Terrorism Puzzle: A Guide for Decision-Makers.
37
Schmid & De Graaf, Violence as Communication, p.75.
38
Forst, ‘Managing the Fear of Terrorism’, p. 283.
39
Bakker & De Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management’, p. 8.
40
B. de Graaf & B. de Graaff, ‘Bringing Politics back in: The Introduction of the ‘Performative Power’ of
Counterterrorism’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 261-275.
41
Ibid, p. 271.
The communicative aspects of counter-terrorism have, of course, also been analyzed through a
crisis management perspective. Boin et al. define crisis as “events or developments widely
perceived by members of relevant communities to constitute urgent threats to core community
values and structures”.
42
It is easy to argue that terrorism fulfills these conditions: Especially
since the attacks of 9/11 and the rise of the global jihadist movement, terrorism is on the minds
of publics, politicians and the media. For example, recent polls in the US have assessed that
about 51% of citizens are very or somewhat worried that they or a relative will become a victim
of terrorism,
43
with the collective level of worry remaining 10-20% above pre-9/11 levels.
44
Moreover, the current brand of jihadist terrorism is widely perceived as counteracting Western
values of democracy and personal liberties, as expressed by multiple politicians and public
figures in reaction to recent terrorist attacks.
45
Thus, in line with understanding a terrorist attack
as a crisis, also counter-terrorism, and fear management in particular, should be looked at as an
example of crisis management.
A prominent approach to the crisis management process by Boin and colleagues
46
categorizes
the (re)actions of public leaders during crisis situations into three phases: sense making,
decision making, and meaning making.
47
While sense making involves appraising the threat
and deciding what the essence of a developing crisis is about, decision making then concerns
the allotment of resources and deployment of measures to react to the crisis. Lastly, meaning
making comprises both the communication of “accurate, clear and actionable information”
48
on
part of the leadership, as well as a rhetorical effort to make the public accept their definition of
the situation and answering questions as to the nature and causes as well as the remedies of a
crisis.
42
A. Boin, P. ‘t Hart & A. McConnell, ‘Crisis Exploitation: Political and Policy Impacts of Framing Contests’,
Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 16, no. 1, 2009, p. 83.
43
J. McCarthy, ‘Trust in Government to Protect Against Terrorism at New Low’, Gallup, 11 December 2015,
http://www.gallup.com/poll/187622/trust-government-protect-against-terrorism-new-
low.aspx?g_source=Politics&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles (accessed 15.3.2016).
44
J. Woods, ‘Framing Terror: An Experimental Framing Effects Study of the Perceived Threat of Terrorism’,
Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 4, no. 2, 2011, p. 199.
45
See for example the speech by French President Hollande reacting to the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015
or former British Prime Minister Blair’s speech in reaction to the London Bombings on July 7, 2005, at
http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/defence-security/parisattacks-paris-terror-attacks-
november-2015/article/speech-by-the-president-of-the-republic-before-a-joint-session-of-parliament and
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4689363.stm, respectively (both accessed 22.03.2016).
46
Boin et al., The Politics of Crisis Management, p. 10.
47
The authors add two more post-crisis stages, namely terminating and learning. Ibid, p. 10.
48
Ibid, p. 12.
It is this last aspect of the crisis management process that is of particular importance to this
thesis, as successful fear management during and after a terrorist attack depends on how the
public interprets the event. Research confirms the essential role that leaders play in this process,
with evidence suggesting that astute rhetorical leadership shapes the public’s interpretations of
a crisis, as well as its emotions and attitudes.
49
Emphasizing that crises are subjectively constructed realities, ‘t Hart advances a ‘symbolic
action perspective’ of crisis management, defining crisis as “a breakdown of familiar symbolic
frameworks legitimating the pre-existing socio-political order”.
50
Tying in with arguments of
Terror Management Theory, the author argues that the challenges that crises pose to previously-
held worldviews generate anxiety within a population, which is exacerbated by witnessing
either directly or indirectly the human and material damage that crises, and especially terrorist
attacks, can bring about. From this symbolic action perspective, ‘t Hart draws five interrelated
analytical dimensions of crisis management, the third of which affective control relates to
“the management of individual and collective emotions generated by the breakdown of routine
symbolic order”.
51
In order to manipulate these emotions, crisis management actors use a
variety of strategies, which ‘t Hart summarizes as framing, rituals, and masking. While the
rituals category includes acts of symbolic behavior showing solidarity, reassurance or
animosity, both framing and masking refer to rhetorical strategies used to define the crisis and
mitigate its impact.
52
Specific framing strategies include for example what Smith and Smith call the ‘Strategy of
Inclusion’ and the ‘Strategy of Division’, the former relating to a message aimed at a larger
audience in order to gain support from a broad coalition, and the latter involving the situating
of the adversary within prejudices and rejections of the constituency.
53
A similarly divisive
strategy is conceptualized by Van Dijk’s ‘Ideological Square’ approach, where relations
between characters are portrayed in binary opposition to each other, as in ‘us vs. the Other’.
54
49
Masters & ‘t Hart, ‘Prime ministerial rhetoric and recession politics’, p. 17.
50
‘t Hart, ‘Symbols, Rituals and Power: The Lost Dimensions of Crisis Management’, p. 39.
51
Ibid, p. 41.
52
‘t Hart refers more generally to rhetorical strategies as framing, whereas masking denotes more specifically
attempts at dampening the impact of crises, obscuring them, and communicating a ‘business as usual’ image.
Ibid, p. 44.
53
C.A. Smith & K.B. Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership as persuasion, Westport: Praeger,
1994, p. 231.
54
T.A. van Dijk, Ideology. A multidisciplinary approach, London: Sage Publications, 1998, p. 43.
Reviewing research on the framing of terrorist attacks, there is not yet a general consensus of
what works best with regard to fear management. Studies on crisis communication in response
to terrorist attacks emphasize the effectiveness of culturally congruent and inclusive frames,
55
frames that underscore resilience as well as unity
56
and those that convey empathy and
understanding,
57
as well as, in general, the importance of trustworthy and competent leaders.
58
On the other side, inciting, war-like rhetoric and an exaggeration of the crisis are evaluated as
counter-productive to successful fear management.
59
55
Canel & Sanders, ‘Crisis Communication and Terrorist Attacks’, p. 463.
56
Ibid, p. 458.
57
M.W. Seeger, ‘Best Practices in Crisis Communication: An Expert Panel Process’, Journal of Applied
Communication Research, vol. 34, no. 3, 2006, pp. 232-244.
58
Smith & Smith, The White House speaks; Forst, ‘Managing the Fear of Terrorism’, p. 295.
59
Bakker & De Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management’, p. 15.
3. Theoretical Framework
3.1 Framing and Sense Making in the Aftermath of Crises
Any attempt to analyze the impact of terrorism needs to take into account that different
stakeholders, at the very least both the terrorist organization and the government of the targeted
public, are trying to construct their narrative of events in the aftermath of an attack. Writing
about social movements, Snow and Benford conceptualize this dynamic construction of
subjective reality as “framing” – an “active, processual phenomenon that implies agency and
contention at the level of reality construction”.
60
Despite disagreement among researchers
whether framing refers to communication content,
61
internal cognitive structures,
62
or both,
63
this thesis will build on the communication-centric approach taken by Entmann, defining
framing as
“select[ing] some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a
communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal
interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item
described”.
64
Frames provide individuals with a set of ideas that enable them to interpret occurrences within
their social reality and render them meaningful.
65
According to Snow and Benford, the framing
process can be divided into three core framing tasks: Diagnostic framing, prognostic framing,
and motivational framing.
66
Diagnostic framing seeks to identify a problem and clarify the
question of attribution. Examples for diagnostic frames include so-called ‘injustice frames’,
67
attributing a perceived injustice to specific actors responsible, and ‘adversarial frames’, a set of
attributional processes that construct the collective identity of a constituency’s members, the
60
R.D. Benford & D.A. Snow, ‘Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment’,
Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 26, 2000, pp. 611-639, p. 614.
61
J. Woods, ‘What we talk about when we talk about terrorism: Elite press coverage of terrorism risk from 1997
to 2005’, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, vol. 12, no. 3, 2007, pp. 3-20.
62
M. McCombs et al., Communication and democracy: Exploring the intellectual frontiers in agenda-setting
theory. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997.
63
T. Gitlin, The whole world is watching: Mass media in the making & unmaking of the new left, Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1980.
64
R.M. Entmann, ‘Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm’, Journal of Communication, vol. 43,
no. 4, 1993, pp. 51-58, p. 52.
65
Benford & Snow, ‘Framing Processes and Social Movements’, p. 614.
66
D.A. Snow & R.D. Benford, ‘Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization’ in B. Klandermans,
H. Kriesi & S. Tarrow (eds.), From Structure to Action: Social Movement Participation Across Cultures.
Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1988, pp. 197-217, p. 199.
67
W.A. Gamson, Talking Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 31.
‘in-group’, as opposed to its antagonists, the ‘out-group’.
68
Prognostic framing is concerned
with proposing a solution to the previously identified problem, with prognostic frames often
varying between different factions of a constituency. Motivational framing finally provides a
rationale for engaging in collective action.
69
The framing approach ties in with the concept of meaning making as set out by Boin and
colleagues, as politicians deliberately choose frames communicating their answer to the
questions of the causes and nature of, as well as the remedies to, a crisis.
70
However, while fear
and impact management is certainly one aim that politicians pursue in their framing efforts in
the aftermath of a crisis, it is unquestionably only one among many others, including advocating
for the pursuit of preferred policies or challenging political opponents. One should thus
approach the analysis of political leaders’ framing efforts with caution, duly taking into account
the context and political agenda that may have been at play.
3.2 Research Question & Hypotheses
As already stated in the introductory part, this thesis intends to analyze the fear management
effort of Israeli politicians during the Second Intifada, and will therefore aim to answer the
following research question:
Which fear management framing approaches did Israeli government actors use in their
responses to terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada and how do these relate to the
body of knowledge on fear management?
In the absence of a fully developed theory on fear management, it is useful to synthesize the
findings of the literature analyzed in the previous section in order to establish themes and
assumptions from which to construct several hypotheses to be tested in this thesis.
68
W.A. Gamson, ‘Constructing Social Protest’, in H. Johnston & B. Klandermans (eds.), Social Movements and
Culture, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995; For similar concepts, see also: van Dijk, Ideology. A
multidisciplinary approach; A. Moghadam & B. Fishman, ‘Introduction: Jihadi “Endogenous” Problems’, in A.
Moghadam and B. Fishman (eds.), Fault lines in global Jihad: Organizational, strategic, and ideological
fissures, London and New York: Routledge, 2011, pp. 1-22.
69
Benford & Snow, ‘Framing Processes and Social Movements’, p. 614.
70
Boin et al., The Politics of Crisis Management, p. 10.
Starting from a crisis communication and management perspective, research points to the
success of approaches using broad, inclusive frames that encompass multiple constituencies
and construct an identity that transcends rifts within society by emphasizing unity among all its
groups. This approach is supported by, for instance, Smith and Smith’s ‘Strategy of
Inclusion’,
71
research findings by Canel and Sanders on political leaders’ rhetorical approaches
following terrorist attacks in Spain and the UK,
72
as well as the findings by Christensen and
colleagues analyzing the Norwegian leadership in this regard.
73
Thus, the first hypothesis this
thesis will test is:
H1: Government actors employ frames emphasizing unity among all groups of society.
However, analyzing the psychological underpinnings of the fear of terrorism, it seems that
divisive strategies emphasizing the struggle of ‘us vs. the Other’ would be most successful in
reducing fear among a constituency through rallying people around the defense of the values
they identify with. This assumption is based, for instance, on the basic tenets of Terror
Management Theory, according to which people engage in behavior affirming and defending
their cultural identity when confronted, here through the violence of a terrorist attack, with their
own mortality. Thus, frames underlining patriotism or even promoting the stereotyping of
others can function as a buffer against anxiety and thereby present a positive coping mechanism
in the aftermath of an attack.
74
Beyond Terror Management Theory, also van Dijk’s ‘Ideological
Square’ approach to framing,
75
as well as Smith and Smith’s ‘Strategy of Division’
76
lend
themselves to this line of argument. Accordingly, the second hypothesis is:
H2: Government actors employ frames emphasizing the difference of the enemy and the
importance of defending the values of the constituency against attack.
A last theme to emerge from the analyzed literature is that frames appealing to the strength and
resilience of a population, and convey a ‘business-as-usual’ image, are beneficial to reducing
fear and anxiety within a constituency. Research by ‘t Hart, for instance, maintains that
politicians use masking strategies and ‘business-as-usual’ frames in order to counteract popular
71
Smith & Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership as persuasion, p. 231.
72
Canel & Sanders, ‘Crisis Communication and Terrorist Attacks’, p. 463.
73
Christensen et al., ‘How to cope with a terrorist attack?’, p. 14-15.
74
Pyszczynski, Solomon & Greenberg, In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror, p. 30.
75
Van Dijk, Ideology. A multidisciplinary approach, p. 43.
76
Smith & Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership as persuasion, p. 231.
anxiety.
77
Likewise, Bakker and De Graaf make the argument that emphasizing the self-efficacy
of a population enhance its positive coping mechanisms, whereas an exaggeration of the threat
and a mobilization of the population around images of fear reinforces negative coping
mechanisms.
78
This line of argument is also supported by De Graaf & De Graaff, who propose
that appealing to the social resilience of the population can counteract terrorism’s negative
impact.
79
Taking the opposite perspective, this line of argument is also reinforced by research
on the effect of media coverage of terrorist attacks, with Forst arguing that sensational and
continuous coverage of terrorist violence brutality is both likely to make people attribute a
higher probability to terrorist attacks and lead to higher levels of anxiety,
80
and De Graaf and
De Graaff maintaining that frames exaggerating the threat and tapping into existing fears lead
to negative coping within a population.
81
Therefore, the third hypothesis to be tested is:
H3: Government actors employ frames emphasizing the strength and resilience of a
constituency and communicate a ‘business-as-usual’ image.
77
‘t Hart, ‘Symbols, Rituals and Power: The Lost Dimensions of Crisis Management’, p. 44.
78
Bakker & De Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management’, p. 15.
79
De Graaf & de Graaff, ‘Bringing Politics back in: The Introduction of the ‘Performative Power’ of
Counterterrorism’, p. 272.
80
Forst, ‘Managing the Fear of Terrorism’, p. 283.
81
De Graaf & de Graaff, ‘Bringing Politics back in: The Introduction of the ‘Performative Power’ of
Counterterrorism’, p. 272.
4. Methodology
4.1 Research Design
This thesis employs a multiple case study design, analyzing the reactions of politicians who
were part of the Israeli government to a selected 14 terrorist attacks that occurred during the
time of the Second Intifada, by way of analysis of official speeches, statements and
commentaries to the media. The choice to focus on Israel alone was made in order to be able to
analyze in an in depth-manner the interesting case that the country presents for terrorism
scholars, as it is quite unique in the duration and intensity of terrorist violence experienced by
the population while at the same time providing comparatively easy access for scholarly
analysis, as many official documents as well as prominent media sources are in the English
language. It is useful to keep in mind, however, that because the research design is focused
exclusively on Israel, external validity and generalizability are limited, as the research
undertaken is considerably context-specific.
Considering the limited scope of this thesis, an appropriate, but not necessarily statistically
significant sample consisting of 14 ‘mass-casualty’ terrorist attacks was created. These attacks
were all those that occurred in Israel or the West Bank Territories between September 2000 and
February 2005, and resulted in 15 or more casualties. In order to arrive at this sample, the
database of the Israel-based International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) was consulted,
which was chosen over other databases due to the proximity and context of the research. The
attacks in Figure 2, all of which are incidentally also suicide bombing attacks, fall within the
aforementioned parameters:
Nr.
Target
Date
Place
Casualties
1
Dolphinarium Discotheque
01.06.2001
Tel Aviv
21
2
Sbarro Restaurant
09.08.2001
Jerusalem
15
3
Haifa Bus 16
02.12.2001
Haifa
15
4
Park Hotel Netanya
27.03.2002
Netanya
30
5
Matza Restaurant
31.03.2002
Haifa
15
6
Rishon LeZion Game Club
07.05.2002
Rishon LeZion
15
7
Megiddo Junction Bus
05.06.2002
Megiddo Junction
17
8
Patt Junction Bus
18.06.2002
Jerusalem
19
9
Tel Aviv Central Bus Station
05.01.2003
Tel Aviv
23
10
Haifa Bus 37
05.03.2003
Haifa
17
11
Davidka Square Bus
11.06.2003
Jerusalem
17
12
Shmuel HaNavi Bus
19.08.2003
Jerusalem
24
13
Maxim Restaurant
04.10.2003
Haifa
21
14
Beersheva Buses
31.08.2004
Beersheva
16
Figure 2: List of terrorist attacks occurring in Israel between September 2000 and February
2005 with 15 or more casualties.
In order to conduct the analysis, speeches, statements and media articles that included
statements by Israeli government politicians or their spokespersons were collected, with the act
of speech directly referring to the respective attack. This material was collected in its English
translation, retrieved mostly through the online archive of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, as well as in English-speaking Israeli and international media. Israeli media outlets
consulted were Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post, and Yedioth Ahronoth’s internet portal Ynetnews,
international media outlets consulted were BBC Online and CNN. Additional internet searches
were performed to add to the material collected in the manner above. In these searches, the
search terms consisted of the target of a given attack, its date and names of Israeli government
politicians, in order to find statements and speech material that may have been published on
websites not listed above. All material that was found, i.e. speeches and statements in reaction
to any of the attacks listed, was utilized in the analysis. During the analysis, English translations
of the material in question were first analyzed, and where necessary, the framing analysis was
verified by consulting the original Hebrew version. For two of the attacks listed above, number
11 and 13, insufficient material was available, leading to their omission in the following
analysis. The amount of material available for the remaining attacks varies from case to case,
with some cases being discussed at length in Prime Ministerial speeches, while others are only
referred to in short statements. This heterogeneity in length and occurrence of speeches is
understandable in the context of the very high frequency of attacks during the period
researched: At its height, in March 2002, 12 suicide attacks were carried out, averaging to
around one attack every two to three days.
82
Given this rate of attacks, it is reasonable that
Israeli leaders did not react in length to every single attack, but that their communication
82
G.M. Ben Israel & M. Shorer-Zeltzer, ‘Telling a Story by Dry Statistics: Suicide Terror Attacks’, in T.
Dronzina & R. El Houdaigui (eds.), Contemporary Suicide Terrorism: Origins, Trends and Ways of Tackling it,
Amsterdam: IOS Press BV, 2012, p.63.
focused on those standing out for specific reasons, such as the number of casualties an attack
produced, its targets or the manner in which it was carried out.
The hypotheses were operationalized in the following way to allow for both the search of
specific key terms within the material, as well as a more context-specific analysis:
Hypothesis
Examples of Framing
Terms
Examples of Framing
Contexts
H1: Government actors
employ frames emphasizing
unity among all groups of
society.
Unity, United, Together,
Nation, Trust, Community
Key words and phrases
are designated in this
manner.
Referring to political
discussion
Referring to Jewish
Israeli Community, Arab
Israeli Community or
both
H2: Government actors
employ frames emphasizing
the difference of the enemy
and the importance of
defending the values of the
constituency against attack.
Enemy, Us, Them,
Humanity, War, Religion,
Jewish, Defeat, Victory,
Land, History, Capital,
Jerusalem
Key words and phrases
are designated in this
manner.
Describing Israeli values
and society
Describing Palestinian
values and society
Describing shared
narrative of identity /
religious-historical
context of Israel
H3: Government actors
employ frames emphasizing
the strength and resilience
of a constituency and
communicate a ‘business-
as-usual’ image.
Resilience, strength,
overcome, continue, strong
Key words and phrases
are designated in this
manner.
Describing the shared
narrative of overcoming
hardship
Referring to past wars
and military conflict
Figure 3: Operationalization of the Research Design.
Thus, a statement by a public leader is counted as relevant to a category not only if it exhibits
one or more of the key terms in the second column, but also if that person’s speech material
falls under a context enumerated in column three. This operationalization ensures that relevant
speech material is counted as such, even if the research design did not foresee the use of a
specific term in certain contexts. While this somewhat broader operationalization is certainly
an advantage of a qualitative analytical approach, it comes with the trade-off that the decision
whether an act of speech falls under a relevant context is made at the discretion of the author.
Nevertheless, for the purposes of this thesis, the benefits of this approach outweigh its costs, as
it allows for the in-depth analysis necessary in this considerably context-specific case. Beyond
the frames outlined in the hypotheses, the material was also analyzed for additional, non-
factual
83
content, in order to include potential themes that the literature did not point to.
In order to adequately reflect the relative importance of each framing approach in the various
acts of speech, a non-binary method of analysis is adopted, indicating whether the use of a
particular frame in the collected acts of speech after a specific attack was either ‘none’, ‘minor’,
or ‘major’. The relative frequency is considered to be ‘none’ where no evidence of a framing
approach is found; ‘minor’ where a specific framing approach is used marginally and represents
a minor theme in an official’s rhetoric; and ‘major’, where a specific framing approach is used
multiple times, representing a major, recurrent theme in the acts of speech. Just as with the
categorization of speech into the different framing approaches, as elaborated above, also this
method puts the judgment of the importance or centrality at the author’s discretion. This
approach was chosen, as opposed to a more mathematical evaluation of frequency, to allow for
a more detailed and context-specific evaluation of the importance of the framing approaches
within the different acts of speech, delineating whether a certain type of frame is a marginal or
a main theme in an official’s rhetoric.
4.2 Limitations
Naturally, the findings of this thesis should be understood within their specific sociopolitical
context. By analyzing cases during the Second Intifada, the findings apply in particular to fear
management within a period of continuous terrorist attacks targeting a community with a well-
defined identity narrative that is widely shared among its members. Likewise, one has to take
into account that motives beyond fear management may have influenced the speech content of
government actors, and therefore keep in mind the political developments at the time that a
speech was held or a statement was made.
83
Within the context of this thesis, the term ‘non-factual’ is used to delineate any speech that contains opinions
and interpretations, rather than facts about an incident.
Further limitations connected to the research design lie in the choice of attacks and analysis
language: Analyzing only mass casualty attacks leads to the exclusion of other attacks with
lesser numbers of casualties, but which may have other fear-inducing qualities, such as a high
number of people wounded, or a low need of preparation, such as shootings or car ramming
attacks. Likewise, conducting the initial search in the English language is likely to result in not
all relevant statements being collected. A third limitation lies also in its analytical approach:
The use of categories such as ‘none’, ‘minor’ and ‘major’ leads to a certain degree of
subjectivity in the analysis, as this categorization is not based on mathematical percentages of
the framing content within an act of speech, but rather a content analysis of the centrality of the
framing approach to the theme of the speech.
These limitations notwithstanding, this thesis can certainly inspire both the academic and policy
communities with key features of successful fear management approaches, provided that they
are adapted to the specific context of the communities concerned. As such, further research on
countries that are most similar or most different to Israel can confirm or further develop the
findings set out by this thesis.
In the following, a short background section will present the reader with an introduction to
terrorism during the Second Intifada and an overview of its military, political and social impact
on Israel and its population. Subsequently, the speeches, statements and commentaries relating
to the attacks in the list will be analyzed.
5. Background: The Second Intifada, September 2000 February 2005
In a period of four years and five months, the Palestinian uprising that has become known as
the Second Intifada or Al Aqsa Intifada cost the lives of an estimated 1000 Israelis and 3000
Palestinians.
84
For the Jewish population, the death toll suffered as a result of terrorism was
unprecedented, exceeding that of all Israelis killed in terror attacks during the 35 years prior
taken together.
85
Although the visit of then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the religiously contested Temple
Mount on 28 September 2000 is often seen as the trigger for the violent uprising, the underlying
dynamics leading towards it can be found within the political process between Israelis and
Palestinians in the decade prior to the Second Intifada. The failure to implement the terms
agreed upon in the 1993 Oslo Accords by the Netanyahu government (1996-1999), as well as
the lack of negotiations towards a Permanent Status Agreement under his successor Ehud
Barak, culminated in disappointment and frustration on both sides when also the negotiations
at the Camp David Summit in July 2000 did not produce a successful outcome.
A tactic of central importance to Palestinian militancy during this period was that of suicide
attacks, their lethality and profound psychological impact making them an effective weapon for
terrorist organizations.
86
Research conducted by Moghadam found that between September
2000 and August 2002, suicide bombings accounted for less than 1% of all Palestinian attacks,
yet produced 44% of all casualties during this period.
87
Data from the Israeli Security Service
paint a similar picture for 2000-2009, stating that 43.8% of all fatalities during this period are
attributed to suicide attacks.
88
84
Estimates vary between 950-1100 Israeli deaths and 2000-4900 Palestinian deaths; B’Tselem, in ‘Intifada toll
2000-2005’, BBC, 8 February 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3694350.stm; Israel Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, ‘The Situation on the eve of the Second Intifada (2000)’, n.d.,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/Maps/Pages/Situation-on-the-eve-of-the-Second-Intifada.aspx; ‘Total
Casualties, Arab-Israeli Conflict’, Jewish Virtual Library, n.d.,
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/casualtiestotal.html (all accessed 16.4.2016).
85
D. Waxmann, ‘Living with Terror, not Living in Terror’, p. 9.
86
For an in-depth analysis of Palestinian suicide operations during the Second Intifada, see A. Moghadam,
‘Palestinian Suicide Terrorism in the Second Intifada: Motivations and Organizational Aspects’, Studies in
Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 26, no. 2, 2003, pp. 65-92.
87
A. Moghadam, ‘Palestinian Suicide Terrorism in the Second Intifada: Motivations and Organizational
Aspects’, p. 65.
88
Israeli Security Service, ‘Analysis of Attacks in the Last Decade – Suicide Attacks’, n.d.,
http://www.shabak.gov.il/SiteCollectionImages/english/TerrorInfo/decade/SuicideAttacks.pdf (accessed
16.4.2016).
While Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad were already perpetrating
suicide attacks during the years prior to the Intifada, as a means to stifle the peace process, the
number and intensity of those attacks greatly increased after September 2000, and they would
remain the “primary effective weapon”
89
of all Palestinian militant groups, including Fatah,
their fighters being members of the Palestinian security apparatus. Figure 4 shows the frequency
of suicide attacks throughout the Second Intifada:
Figure 4: Number of Suicide Attacks perpetrated by Palestinian Militants during the Second
Intifada, 2000 2005.
90
As a result of the pressure to deal with a deteriorating security situation, Israel’s political life
featured several key dynamics during the Intifada: The elections for Prime Minister in 2001
saw a change from a left-wing Labor to a right-wing Likud leadership, even though Ariel
Sharon, who replaced Ehud Barak, headed a national unity government until 2003, in which
both major parties were included. Dissatisfaction, among others, with Barak’s handling of the
outbreak of violence in September 2000, led voters to push for a more security-focused
approach, traditionally located with the political right wing. Despite pressure from both the
public and politicians alike, however, a large-scale military initiative termed ‘Operation
Defensive Shield’ was initiated only in March 2002, after 130 Israelis had been killed in attacks
89
Y. Schweitzer, ‘The Rise and Fall of Suicide Bombings in the Second Intifada’, Strategic Assessment, vol. 13,
no. 3, October 2010, pp. 39-48, p. 39.
90
Israeli Security Service, ‘Analysis of Attacks in the Last Decade – Suicide Attacks’.
4
35
53
26
12
5
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Number of Suicide Attacks, 2000-2005
during that month alone,
91
followed by ‘Operation Determined Path’ in June 2002. Beyond
these military operations, Israel started to build the security fence in June 2002, in order to stop
terrorists from the West Bank from carrying out attacks on Israeli territory. The Israeli security
establishment claims that, taken together, the above mentioned measures were the primary
cause for a decrease in suicide attacks after 2002. Thus, whereas 63% of all suicide attacks (92)
occurred up until and including 2002, 2003 only saw 26 attacks and 12 attacks occurred in
2004.
92
Despite a general deterioration in the security and economic situation during Sharon’s first
tenure, he was reelected in a landslide victory in 2003, heading a coalition between Likud and
National Religious, as well as secular parties. In explaining his paradoxical victory,
commentators have pointed, among others, to the general public’s agreement with Sharon’s
policy course, emphasizing the prominence of security needs, and the subjective attribution of
the security and economic problems to factors beyond the Prime Minister’s control.
93
It has also
been argued that his reelection was in fact the result of what has been called the Rally round
the flag syndrome,
94
describing a dynamic by which criticism of political incumbents decreases
when external threats are present. More generally, the outcome of both the 2001 and 2003
elections indicate a shift to the political right within the Israeli public, in line with research
suggesting that people respond with increased social conservatism during times of threat.
95
Moreover, as a result of a prolonged period of attacks, Israeli Jews perceived peace with the
Palestinians to be less likely, and support for more aggressive military measures became more
prevalent.
96
Beyond the military, political, and economic impact, the Second Intifada also affected the social
sphere: As Waxmann observes, the sense of victimhood felt by the Jewish Israeli population
led to an increased sense of delegitimization of not only the terrorists, but also the constituencies
they claimed to represent.
97
Thus, surveys conducted in late 2000 found that 68% of Israeli
91
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000’,
n.d.,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/victims%20of%20palestinian%20violence
%20and%20terrorism%20sinc.aspx (accessed 16.04.2016).
92
Israeli Security Service, ‘Analysis of Attacks in the Last Decade – Suicide Attacks’.
93
C.S. Brown, ‘Israel’s 2003 Elections: A victory for the moderate right and the secular center’, The Middle East
Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, 2003.
94
A. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2005, p. 184.
95
J.T. Jost et al., ‘A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated Evidence of Conscious and
Unconscious Bolstering of the Status Quo’, Political Psychology, vol. 5, no. 6, 2004, pp. 881-917.
96
96
D. Waxmann, ‘Living with Terror, not Living in Terror’, p. 15.
97
Ibid., p. 12.
Jews perceived Palestinians as violent, up from 39% in 1997.
98
Likewise, the attacks revived a
sense of national cohesiveness, with a total of 86% of Israeli Jews polled in March 2002
indicating that the events surrounding ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ had strengthened national
unity.
99
While the definitive end of the Second Intifada is disputed, events such as the death of Yasser
Arafat in November 2004 and the mutual truce declared at the Sharm El Sheikh Summit of
February 2005 certainly marked its decline. Arafat’s death resulted in a loss of momentum, as
Palestinians lost their symbolic leader, who was replaced by the more cooperation-minded
Mahmoud Abbas. Likewise, Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, announced
in June 2004 under Ariel Sharon, and completed in August 2005 presented a stepping stone in
reducing tension and violent confrontations.
98
D. Bar-Tal & K. Shavrit, ‘Psychological Foundations of Israeli Jews’ reactions to Al Aqsa Intifada: The Role
of the Threatening Transitional Context’, in V.M. Esses & R. Vernon, (eds.), Explaining the Breakdown of
Ethnic Relations: Why Neighbors Kill, Oxford, Wiley Blackwell, 2008, pp. 141-170.
99
T. Hermann, ‘Tactical Hawks, Strategic Doves: The Positions of the Jewish Public in Israel on the Israeli-
Palestinian Conflict’, Srategic Assessment, vol. 5, no. 2, 2002.
6. Analysis
The following section contains the analysis of the collected speeches and statements by Israeli
government actors and/or their spokespersons. The attacks are analyzed chronologically, and
relevant passages of the material is highlighted through underlining unity, ‘us vs. them’, and
resilience framing. Moreover, passages with additional relevant framing material are cited and
analyzed, but not underlined.
6.1 Dolphinarium Discotheque, Tel Aviv, 1 June 2001
Next to being the first ‘mass-casualty’ attack of the Second Intifada, the suicide bombing
targeting the Dolphinarium Discotheque in Tel Aviv became infamous for the choice of its
victims: Most of the 21 people killed were teenagers and young adults from the former Soviet
Union who were standing in line to enter the disco.
100
Reacting to the attacks, the Cabinet issued a statement a day after the attack,
101
which begins
by conveying the government’s condolences to the families of the victims and its wishes for a
speedy recovery to the wounded of “last night’s heinous attack”. In its communication, the
government emphasizes both the unity and strength of the Israeli people, appealing to the past
challenges that it had to overcome:
“The people of Israel have demonstrated tenacity and national unity in this cycle of
violence that has been imposed upon us. We have confronted this challenge, like every
other challenge forced upon us in the past by our enemies, without being deterred by
threats and killings.”
Furthermore, a large part of the communique is dedicated to attributing blame and responsibility
for the attack to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and in particular to its Chairman Yasser Arafat:
“The Government of Israel has determined that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and
Chairman Arafat are engaged in terrorist activity, encourage it and are inciting to
hatred and violence. […] The PA has established in its territory a coalition of terror,
100
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Tel-Aviv suicide bombing at the Dolphin disco, June 1, 2001’, 2 June
2001, http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-Archive/2001/Pages/Tel-
Aviv%20suicide%20bombing%20at%20the%20Dolphin%20disco%20-%201-.aspx (accessed 22.04.2016).
101
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Political-Security Cabinet Communique’, 2 June 2001,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2001/Pages/Political-Security%20Cabinet%20Communique%20-%202-Jun-
2001.aspx (accessed 22.04.2016).
and is attempting to disguise it with words of peace as lip service to the international
community, while continuing to incite its people to hatred and violence. […] Israel holds
the PA responsible for the deterioration and will draw the security and political
conclusions from its conduct.
Understanding this act of speech within the present political context, it becomes clear that the
Israeli government wants to emphasize that the PA does not present a partner for peace at this
moment, and that negotiations can only succeed if PA members dissect themselves from the
terrorist networks and actively engage in preventing terrorist attacks. The statement expresses
frustration with the “lip service” to peace by the PA towards the international community.
In statements published in a CNN article,
102
the reactions of several government actors reveal
similar dynamics: Ra’anan Gissin, spokesperson for Ariel Sharon, communicates frustration
about the PA’s two-faced approach towards the international community on one side and Israel
on the other:
We extended a hand for peace, I think now the whole world can see what the PA is
instigating in response. […] The whole world is watching and I think the whole world
will be able to reach the proper conclusion as to who is responsible.”
In a similar vein, Interior Minister Uzi Landau is urging Western governments to end political
support for Arafat, who “has set an overall policy giving a green light to acts of terrorism”,
emphasizing that “[t]his isn’t peace. This is someone who’s preparing an ongoing war.”
In an article published by the Israeli news portal Walla,
103
Ariel Sharon expresses his
condolences to the families of the victims on a hospital visit of those wounded in the attack.
Despite blaming the PA for the attack and doubting their sincerity about peaceful intentions (“I
don’t believe in words, but in deeds”), he advocates for a calm and well thought through
reaction to the attack, saying that “restraint is strength”. Putting this statement into its political
context, it is clear that it expresses the governmental line of the time to continue to pursue
ceasefire negotiations with the Palestinians.
Taken together, these statements do exhibit some content of unity and resilience, which can be
seen as in line with Hypotheses 1 and 3. However, there is a much larger component within all
four statements analyzed, namely the attribution of blame and responsibility to the PA and
102
‘Suicide Bombing at Israeli Disco Kills 17’, CNN, 1 June 2001,
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/06/01/israel.explosion.03/ (accessed 22.04.2016).
103
‘חכ אוה קופיא :ןורש’, Walla News, 3 June 2001, http://news.walla.co.il/item/68731 (accessed 22.04.2016).
Arafat, and the voicing of frustration and perceived injustice regarding the two-faced behavior
of the PA regarding peace negotiations. More than anything else, the statements analyzed
convey a general feeling of anger directed at both the PA and the international community.
6.2 Sbarro Restaurant, Jerusalem, 9 August 2001
Little more than two months after the attack on the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem saw
its first ‘mass-casualty’ attack, when a suicide bombing in a pizza restaurant resulted in the
death of 15 people, with 130 others injured.
104
Reacting to the attack, members of the government appealed strongly to the resilience and
perseverance of the nation in the face of this tragedy. Interior Minister Uzi Landau, for instance,
interprets the attack as follows:
“What we see here today is another attempt in a long list of terrorist attempts which are
targeting, on purpose, women, children, kids, this time babies, too, in an attempt to
break a whole nation. They’ve been trying to do that already for almost 10 months.
Today, they did it at downtown Jerusalem. And it is very simple: If they have the hope
to find a society, a people that is going to give in, they’re going to be mistaken.
105
While this statement emphasizes the strength of Israelis as a nation, it also indirectly
characterizes the enemy by way of enumerating the civilian targets. Framing the victims as
“women, children, kids” and “babies” adds a layer of inhumanity to the perpetrators, who are
inconspicuously referred to as “they”, leaving it open to interpretation whether they are the
individual terrorists, the Palestinian leadership, or even the Palestinian people as a whole. As
such, this statement contains both a strong appeal to resilience as well as an ‘us vs. them’
component, questioning the enemy’s values and morality.
Others within the political leadership focus on the position of Israel as a victim of Palestinian
aggression within the larger political dynamics of the conflict. Minister of Justice Meir Shitrit
reacts, for instance, in favor of retaliation, saying that “Israel is acting according to the very
basic rules of self-defense. We are not willing to see ourselves with tied hands against the threat
104
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem-9-Aug-2001’, 9
August 2001, http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-
Archive/2000/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20at%20the%20Sbarro%20pizzeria%20in%20Jerusale.aspx
(accessed 22.04.2016).
105
‘Israel hits back after deadly bombing’, CNN, 10 August 2001,
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/08/09/mideast/ (accessed 22.04.2016).
of terror”. Government spokesperson Ra’anan Gissin echoes Shitrit’s remarks in saying that
“we can’t allow to pay with the blood of our people and the blood of our citizens for some
illusion of stability or restraint in the Middle East, making clear that Israel is not willing to
sacrifice its population to a dubitable political process.
Yet again others choose to focus, again, on attributing blame and responsibility for the attack
to the Palestinian leadership. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres argues that
“[i]f the Palestinian Authority had acted with the necessary determination and carried
out preventive detentions of Hamas terrorists and their operators, the murders today in
Jerusalem would have been prevented.”
106
In the same vein, Cabinet Minister Danny Naveh holds PA Chairman Arafat directly
responsible:
“We see Arafat and the PA responsible for this terrible attack. Arafat is the one who
gave the green light to Islamic Jihad to commit such bombings. He has released from
jail terrorists with blood on their hands.”
107
To summarize, the Israeli leadership uses appeals to the resilience of Israelis, as well as a
discernible ‘us vs. them’ framing, condemning the morality of the perpetrators. Again, however,
the political context seems to play a large role in the various statements: Attributions of blame
to the PA are present and also doubts regarding the ongoing negotiations with the Palestinians
are expressed.
6.3 Bus 16, Haifa, 2 December 2001
The third attack to be analyzed occurred in Haifa, a city which diverse religions call their home,
with a sizeable Arab population of about 20%. 15 people died and 40 were wounded when a
suicide bomber targeted a public bus.
108
Note that the attack in Haifa on 2 December 2001
occurred a day after a suicide attack in downtown Jerusalem, killing 13 people and wounding
106
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem-9-Aug-2001’, 9
August 2001, http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-
Archive/2000/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20at%20the%20Sbarro%20pizzeria%20in%20Jerusale.aspx
(accessed 22.04.2016).
107
‘Israel hits back after deadly bombing’, CNN, 10 August 2001,
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/08/09/mideast/ (accessed 22.04.2016).
108
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing on Haifa bus-2-Dec-2001’, 2 December 2011,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-Archive/2001/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20on%20Haifa%20bus%20-%202-
Dec-2001.aspx (accessed 24.04.2016).
188 others. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the reactions by political leaders refer to
both attacks simultaneously.
Reacting to the attacks, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed the nation the following day,
109
first expressing his condolences to the families of the victims. He then proceeds to describe the
Israeli society and its history as follows:
We have fought many wars and won them all. We defeated our enemies, and we made
peace. We held the sword and made the desert bloom. We built cities, developed
agriculture and industry and turned Israel into an example to many countries. We will
continue doing this, and we will never stop.”
It is evident that Sharon sets out the shared narrative of the Israelis, and particularly the Jewish
people. References to biblical verses (“We held the sword and made the desert bloom) are
accompanied by more worldly allusions to the military victories in the country’s past and the
pride gained from building a successful country out of nothing. While this passage thus
emphasizes the right of the Jews to their country, the final phrase confirms a determination that
Israel is here to stay, and will not be swayed by any attempt to destroy it. Themes of religion,
war and development are thus combined to reflect the self-understanding of Jewish Israeli
society and the Zionist ideology as it is widely interpreted by Israelis today. This narrative is
taken up again later during Sharon’s speech, when he asserts the following: “I say from
Jerusalem, our eternal capital forever, whomever chooses to kill us will pay a price”. This
phrase emphasizes both the religious origins of Israel, as well its military history and the
determination of Israelis to defend their country.
In addition to the emphasis on the narrative and self-understanding of Israeli Jews, Sharon also
stresses the importance of unity, both within the population and among its politicians:
“The government is a unity government. This is a time of emergency, and it's important
to have a unity government representing all the people of Israel. […] Unfortunately, I
fought in all of Israel's wars. One thing I learned and taught is that during war
everybody must stand together. It's unfitting at a time like this, before we even acted, to
criticize. The best example we have right now of a nation standing united together is the
United States of America. We shall learn from the Americans how a nation stands
together at a time of war.”
109
‘Text of Ariel Sharon’s Address’, CNN, 3 December 2001,
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/12/03/sharon.transcript/index.html (accessed 24.04.2016).
This emphasis on unity can be understood in the context of political discussion at the time.
Seeing the many victims of terror attacks in the previous days and weeks, the government’s
policy course of pursuing diplomatic negotiations under the auspices of American Envoy
General Anthony Zinni, came under criticism for not reacting more severely and with increased
military measures. In the end, this attack and the one on the preceding day did lead to an
intensification of measures by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the West Bank, such as travel
restrictions from West Bank Palestinian towns,
110
although not yet to an all-out military
campaign, as would be the case later during the course of the Intifada.
Furthermore, Sharon proceeds to situate the blame for the current confrontation with Arafat and
the PA, emphasizing in particular that the Israelis are not responsible for starting this round of
the conflict:
“We don't start wars: This war was forced on us. Arafat is responsible for all. He made
his strategic decision of terrorism to reach diplomatic achievements by murdering. In
this, he chose terrorism.”
Interestingly, Sharon then proceeds to frame Arafat personally as the main culprit, alluding also
to the failure to uphold the commitments he made during the Oslo Process:
For a long time, the world didn't realize Arafat's true nature. Lately, there's a change.
People have begun to see the real Arafat. He's the biggest obstacle for peace and
stability in the Middle East. But he will not fool this government. This time, he will not
fool us.
In what seems almost comical, Arafat’s name is mentioned an additional seven times during
this speech, each time in similarly expressed sentences:
Arafat is responsible for all. […] Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority and Arafat
are directly responsible for the serious situation we now face. It's impossible for the
terrorists to do what they do without receiving shelter and aid from Arafat. They are
allowed headquarters and training camps next to Arafat's headquarters. […] We see
Arafat as directly responsible for what is going on. […] The person directly responsible
for the deaths in Israel and the plight of the Palestinians is Arafat. […] Arafat brought
us to this situation as a result of the strategy of terror he's adopted. We will act until we
put an end to terror. He is the one who's responsible for terror.”
110
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Travel restrictions in the West Bank following the recent wave of terrorist
attacks-2-Dec-2001’, 2 December 2001,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2001/Pages/Travel%20restrictions%20in%20the%20West%20Bank%20follo
wing%20the.aspx (accessed 24.04.2016).
Clearly, this framing leads to a personification of blame in the person of Yasser Arafat, a theme
that recurs throughout the entire speech. Connected to this externalization of blame is a strong
‘us vs. them’ rhetoric, expressing the incompatibility of the Palestinian and Israeli narratives:
The purpose of terrorists and those who send them and aid them is to expel us, to drive
us to despair, to lose our vision. This will never happen. No other nation would display
such maturity and steadfastness.”
Whereas this statement communicates, on the one hand, the cosmic duality of ‘us vs. the
Palestinians’ on this territory, it also includes an appeal to the resilience and strength of the
Israeli people in the face of outside threat.
In addition to Sharon’s speech, a statement by the Security Cabinet issued on 2 December 2001
reacts to the attacks,
111
titled “PA is directly responsible for the situation that has been created”.
In addition to conveying the Defense Minister’s condolences to the families of the victims, the
document justifies taking harsher measures in response to being attacked:
“Over the past few days, the State of Israel has found itself under a murderous offensive
of terrorist attacks. […] the Palestinian Authority, and its leader, lack the willingness
to stop the campaign of violence and terror.”
Thus, the statement confirms the message propagated by Sharon, that the PA and Arafat are
responsible for the terrorist attacks, and that Israel is justified in responding to them with harsher
military measures.
To summarize, the speech by Sharon shows evidence of all three framing approaches, but
emphasizes the ‘us vs. them’ framing by capitalizing on the historical narrative that Israeli Jews
use to understand their identity, as well as arguing that Israel has come under attack by a
malevolent enemy government which threatens to expulse Israeli Jews from the region. This
framing is underscored by a vocal blame attribution to the person of Yasser Arafat, also to be
found in the Security Cabinet statement. Whereas the two other framing approaches, unity and
resilience, do appear in the speech, they have a somewhat lesser position than the divisive, ‘us
vs. them’ approach.
111
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘PA is directly responsible for the situation that has been created-2-Dec-
2001’, 2 December 2001,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2001/Pages/PA%20is%20directly%20responsible%20for%20the%20situation
%20that.aspx (accessed 24.4.2016).
6.4 Park Hotel, Netanya, 27 March 2002
The most lethal of all attacks during the Second Intifada occurred on the eve of the Passover
holiday 2002, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the midst of a dinner in
Netanya’s Park Hotel, resulting in 30 deaths and wounding another 140 people.
112
Reacting to the attack, Prime Minister Sharon, Foreign Minister Peres and Defense Minister
Ben Eliezer each gave short statements within three days after the attack, which will be analyzed
first. Moreover, Sharon held an additional speech before the Knesset on 8 April 2002, which
likewise focuses on the Passover attack and will therefore also be analyzed in the following,
despite the amount of time that had passed between the two.
Looking first at the initial statement by the Prime Minister,
113
he first conveys his condolences
to the families of the victims, emphasizing that “we all share this expression of condolence and
sympathy” and thereby invoking a feeling of unity in the face of grief. The framing of unity is
reiterated later in his statement, when he says that “[a]t times such as these we are all required
to demonstrate responsibility and mainly unity, and I am confident that we will do so. In
addition to the emphasis on unity, the Prime Minister’s statement expresses frustration at being
the victim of terrorism despite still pursuing negotiations. Sharon expresses this as follows:
“All this has happened at a time when Israel's hand was - and still is - extended towards
peace. We have done everything in our power to achieve a cease-fire and an immediate
entry into the Tenet process in order to advance any possibility of a cease-fire. All we
have received in return was terrorism, terrorism and more terrorism.”
He thus draws the conclusion that only military measures can improve the situation and
announces that:
“[t]he Government has approved principles for extensive operational activity against
Palestinian terrorism. […] Israel will act to crush the Palestinian terrorist
infrastructure, in all its parts and components, and will carry out comprehensive activity
112
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Passover suicide bombing at Park Hotel in Netanya-27-Mar-2002’, 27
March 2002, http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-
Archive/2002/Pages/Passover%20suicide%20bombing%20at%20Park%20Hotel%20in%20Netanya.aspx
(accessed 24.4.2016).
113
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Statements by PM Sharon and DM Ben-Eliezer at press conference
following Cabinet meeting-29-Mar-2002’, 29 March 2002,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2002/Pages/Statements%20by%20PM%20Sharon%20and%20DM%20Ben-
Eliezer%20at%20pres.aspx (accessed 24.4.2016).
to achieve this goal. […] Arafat, who has established a coalition of terror against Israel,
is an enemy and at this point he will be isolated.”
Thus, the personalization of blame within PA Chairman Arafat is continued, with Sharon
confirming that targeted action will be taken, even though he does not clarify in the speech, nor
in a Q&A that follows the press conference, what it means to “isolate” Arafat.
The statement of Defense Minister Ben Eliezer is similar both in content and tone to that of the
Prime Minister. It starts out by expressing his condolences to the bereaved families and
attributing blame to the PA and Yasser Arafat for the current situation:
“Arafat has made himself into the enemy. He cannot absolve himself from responsibility.
He bears a heavy responsibility for the terrorist elements, through both his actions and
omissions.
He goes on to defend the cabinet’s decision to increase military measures by using an ‘us vs.
them’ type framing, expressing that only a full-fledged war against the terrorists can protect the
nation:
“The very nature of the Cabinet decision […] makes it clear that we have now started
moving towards a war against the forces of terrorism in the coming days, possibly
weeks. We have stated at every turn the fact that we have no interest in continuing in
the use of arms, but given no other choice, we owe it to our homes, to our children and
to our people.
That last sentence can be seen as a relatively emotional appeal to protect the community against
existential threat. This confirms the ‘us vs. them’ dynamics, emphasizing that the safety of “our
people” needs to be defended against the “forces of terrorism”.
The last short statement by Foreign Minister Peres a day after the attack had taken place chimes
in with the others in attributing blame to PA Chairman Arafat
114
:
“The Palestinian Authority and its Chairman, Yasser Arafat, have not taken a single
concrete step to stop Palestinian terrorism and as such bear responsibility for the
terrible crime which took place at the beginning of Passover.”
In addition, it goes on to characterize the terrorists as follows: “[t]hose that planned and
executed this gruesome crime have lost all semblance of humanity and Israel will see that they
114
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Reaction of FM Peres to Passover suicide bombing-28-Mar-2002’, 28
March 2002,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2002/Pages/Reaction%20of%20FM%20Peres%20to%20Passover%20suicide
%20bombing%20-.aspx (accessed 24.4.2016).
are punished”. This characterization of the enemy serves as delineating those who do not
possess humanity from those who do, drawing a clear line between the terrorists on one side
and Israelis, who are in the position of punishing them, on the other.
The military measures announced already in the aforementioned statements were developed
during the following days into a plan for a full-fledged military operation that started on 29
March 2002, called Operation Defensive Shield. Explaining the aims of the operation, and in
direct reference to the Passover attacks, Prime Minister Sharon held a speech before the Knesset
on 8 April 2002.
115
In an unusually emotional framing, Sharon opens his speech by describing
the destruction witnessed after the attack in Netanya and proceeds to name some of the victims:
Our dead lie in a long row: women and children, young and old. And we stand facing
them, facing the vacuum created by their murders, and we are speechless. […] And then
the sights and sounds come rushing in, the sights of destruction, the cries of the
wounded, the sirens. Then the awful silence of the funerals, the faces and human stories
which stare at us from the newspapers: [names victims]”.
Against the backdrop of the suffering and destruction that he paints with his words, Sharon
proceeds to name a culprit for it all:
It is not a coincidence, members of Knesset. It is not cruel fate. The murderous gangs
have a leader, a purpose, and a directing hand […] Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasir Arafat. He is the man who, in a series of agreements, promised to abandon the
path of terrorism, refrain from committing murder, use his forces to prevent it and
betrayed all his promises.
Again, the theme of personalizing blame for the situation within the figure of Arafat is taken
up, with Sharon pointing to the commitments he has failed to fulfill regarding preventing
terrorist attacks and pursuing wanted militants.
Sharon then continues his speech by underlining that the way of life of the Jewish Israeli
community is incompatible with that of the “killers and dispatchers”, while not specifying
whom he includes within that label, and that a life side by side is not possible:
“And thus the killers and dispatchers intend to destroy the hope for peace, hope for the
future and hope for a normal life […] They have one mission: to chase us out of here, from
115
‘Text of Speech by Sharon to Israeli Parliament’, The New York Times, 8 April 2002,
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/08/international/middleeast/08CND-MTEXT.html?pagewanted=all (accessed
24.4.2016). Note that this speech also follows six other attacks which occurred in the time period between 27
March and 8 April, one of which was a suicide bombing resulting in the death of 15 people.
everywhere from our home in Elon Moreh and from the supermarket in Jerusalem, from
the café in Tel Aviv and from the restaurant in Haifa, from the synagogue in Netzarim
where the murderers slaughtered two [sic] over 70 worshippers, walking in their prayer
shawls to morning prayers and from the Seder table in Netanya.”
Analyzing this passage, it becomes clear that Sharon frames the attacks in a divisive manner,
establishing opposition and the conflict in dualistic, ‘us vs. them’ terms. According to him, a
normal life, i.e. a life in peace and coexistence, is impossible, as “they” could never accept
Israeli Jews inhabiting the territory. This framing echoes an often-cited statement, uttered,
among others by first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion in a 1955 speech to the Knesset: “...
and they [the Arabs] plan, as many of them say openly, to throw us all into the sea; in simpler
words, to exterminate the Jews of the Land of Israel.”
116
This death by drowning imagery has
become part of Israelis’ collective narrative and is still invoked today when talking about the
fundamental threat that the Palestinians and Arab people of the Middle East present to the
existence of the Jewish state. Sharon underscores this conflictual duality by arguing that Arafat
sees Israeli fundamental values as its weakest link:
He assumed, and still assumes, that he will be able to defeat Israel and break its spirit. In
our sensitivity to the sanctity of human life and in our openness for political debate, he sees
basic weakness.”
Thus, after evoking a picture of existential conflict, meticulously driven by a group
diametrically opposed to the Jewish community’s fundamental values, Sharon appeals to both
the strength and the unity of the Israeli people as its only way to overcome the threat:
“During these days we are seeing the People of Israel at its best a proud people whose
spirit will not be broken, a people determined to protect its home, while extending its hand
in peace.”
He then proceeds to express the government’s gratitude to:
our soldiers and officers, to those in compulsory service and the reservists, to the families
on the home front who are the real backbone of the army, to the anonymous security
personnel, to policemen and border guards, to civilian rescue units […], security guards,
civil defense volunteers, and to each and every one who in spite of the worries and
understandable fear, still continue our lives.”
116
M. Handelsaltz, ‘Word for Word: Who’s Throwing Who into the Sea?’, Ha’aretz Online, 6 July 2012,
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/word-for-word-who-s-throwing-who-into-the-sea-1.449269 (accessed
27.4.2016).
By naming all those who are involved in the defense effort and adding to them those who, in
spirit, fight against the terrorists by continuing to live their lives as usual, Sharon frames the
military effort as a common endeavor uniting all Israelis. Frames of unity and resilience are
also combined in his next direct appeal to Israelis:
“From here, I address the people of Israel. This battle will not be easy. Unfortunately, I
cannot guarantee that there will be no more victims, and that we will know no more grief
and bereavement. But we will overcome this challenge first of all, because we are an
ancient nation, a nation which is all too familiar with pain and hardship, a nation which
has overcome the greatest of tragedies. Secondly, because we are united and stand together.
We are one people. Unity is our greatest asset in this struggle which has been forced upon
us, and in our path toward peace and security […]. I call upon each and every one of you
to maintain this unity, not to stretch the boundaries or argument, rivalry and dispute, but
rather to strengthen the sense of unity, lend a helping hand and demonstrate a spirit of
volunteerism and good will.”
It is thus evident that, in his speech, Sharon uses a combination of resilience and unity frames,
conveying that strength is only to be achieved through unity. Furthermore, he conjures the
Israeli people’s shared narrative of overcoming hardship, thereby relying on past experiences
of successfully living through the impact of adversity. It is interesting to note that Sharon
characterizes the events as “battle” and thereby uses war rhetoric, tying in with his conflictual
‘us vs. them’ framing earlier in the speech.
To sum up, whereas the initial statements succeeding the attack focus more on blaming Arafat
and the PA, Sharon’s later speech actually contains all framing elements set out in the
hypotheses, by explaining the ongoing conflict in divisive, ‘us vs. them’ terminology, and then
offering a way out through unity and resilience. It is interesting here that both themes are
contextually combined in the framing, making unity a means to achieve resilience.
6.5 Matza Restaurant, Haifa, 31 March 2002
117
In the second ‘mass casualty’ attack taking place in Haifa, a suicide bomber targeted a restaurant
adjacent to a gas station, killing 15 people and injuring an additional 30.
118
117
Note that the last speech analysed in the previous section also applies to this attack, as it was held on 8 April
2002.
118
‘Israel extends West Bank grip’, BBC Online, 1 April 2002,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1904470.stm (accessed 28.4.2016).
PM Sharon addressed the nation in a televised speech later that day.
119
In his speech, he focuses
on attributing blame for the attack on the PA and Arafat, and uses war rhetoric to frame the
conflict. As such, he addresses the people in the following manner:
Citizens of Israel, the state of Israel is in a war, a war against terrorism. It’s a war that
has been imposed on us. It’s not one that we have chosen to undertake. It is a war for our
home.”
Not only is he saying that the Israelis have not chosen this war, but also that they have no other
choice but to fight it, as it is a war for their home. This act of speech exhibits clear elements of
a divisive, ‘us vs. them’ framing, suggesting that terrorism is aimed at uprooting the Israelis,
and that fighting it is essential in order to salvage their way of life. In addition, Sharon points
to Arafat as the source of the conflict:
This terrorism is activated, directed and initiated by one man - the chairman of the
Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat. Arafat is at the head of a coalition of terrorism. He
operates a strategy of terrorism. The chairman of the Palestinian Authority is an enemy of
Israel. He is the enemy of the entire free world. Everyone who seeks freedom, everyone who
was brought up on the values of freedom and democracy must know that Arafat is an
obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Arafat is a danger to the whole region.”
More than just placing blame on Arafat and framing him as the enemy of Israel and the free
world, Sharon also appeals to the need to protect values such as freedom and democracy from
terrorism. By portraying the fight against terrorism as a fight for the constituency’s values,
Sharon thus transforms the fight into one that is inevitable, as losing it would mean losing the
idea of life that the community stands for. This interpretation is supported also by the following
passage, in which Sharon argues that no compromises can be made with terrorists:
“We have to combat this terrorism uncompromisingly. We have to uproot it. You cannot
make any compromise with terrorism. You cannot compromise with people who are
prepared, like the suicide bombers in Israel’s street, or the Twin Towers in the U.S., to die
simply in order to kill innocent people men, women, children, to die in order to sew [sic]
terror and horror.”
Clearly, describing the attackers as willing to die simply in order to kill innocent people
expresses a value judgment and situates the terrorist as diametrically opposed to his
constituency, which embraces values such as the sanctity of human life, or freedom and
democracy, as mentioned earlier in the speech.
119
‘Sharon addresses nation 'at a crossroads'’, BBC Online, 31 March 2002,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1904592.stm (accessed 28.4.2016).
Sharon concludes the speech by appealing to the strength and resilience of Israelis:
Citizens of Israel, the state of Israel is currently in a very difficult situation. We have been
in very difficult situations before and we have overcome them. This time, too, we will win
out. This time, too, we will be victorious. And when this happens, we will be able to live
here together in peace.”
By referring to past victories, Sharon appeals to the confidence of Israelis that, this time, too,
they will overcome hardship. Interesting is also his outlook into the future at the end of this
passage, indicating that “we” will be able to live here “together” in peace. Not specifying whom
he refers to, it is up to the listener’s interpretation of whether Sharon hints at coexistence with
the neighboring Arab population or at a Jewish Israeli community living peacefully without
being attacked by its Arab neighbors.
To summarize, Sharon’s speech centers very much on framing the attack as an act of war, and
attributing the blame for it to Yasser Arafat. This might also serve as a justification for the
impending military operation that started a few days after this speech was held. Terrorists are
framed as valueless and therefore, ineligible for compromises. The speech also includes an
appeal to Israelis’ past experience to withstand war and adversity.
6.6 Game Club, Rishon LeZion, 7 May 2002
In the first ‘mass casualty’ attack targeting Israel’s fourth largest, but less well known city,
Rishon LeZion, 16 people were killed and 55 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated
explosives in a third-floor game club, causing part of the building to collapse.
120
The attack in
Rishon LeZion was the first ‘mass casualty’ suicide bombing after Operation Defensive Shield
had ended on 21 April 2002.
Reacting to the attack, Prime Minister Sharon gave a statement at a news conference in
Washington, cutting short his visit of then-U.S. president George W. Bush to talk about the
120
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of
Principles (Sept 1993)’, n.d.,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/suicide%20and%20other%20bombing%20
attacks%20in%20israel%20since.aspx (accessed 28.4.2016).
peace process.
121
In his statement, Sharon makes ample use of war rhetoric in describing the
struggle against terrorism:
“I say today Israel will not surrender to blackmail […] He who rises up to kill us, we will
pre-empt it and kill him first. […] The operation has yielded tremendous achievements but
our work is not done. The battle continues and will continue until all those who believe that
they can make gains through the use of terror will cease to exist cease to exist.
The use of war metaphors is interesting, given the fact that the military operation in the West
Bank territory had just ended. It can be argued that this emphasis on military measures conveys
determination, on one side, but also keeps an open door for a potential second military
operation, should it turn out that Israel’s security needs could not be guaranteed through the
previous one.
Sharon continues by introducing value-laden speech, and combining it with military framing:
"I depart now to Israel with a heavy heart, heavy with grief and heavy with rage -- the
rage of every man and woman in Israel; the rage of each and every Jew in the world;
the rage of all those who share our values of freedom, liberty and democracy. […] Israel
will fight for these values. Israel will fight anyone who tries to threaten these values.
Israel will fight anyone who tries, through suicide terrorism, to sow fear. Israel will
fight. Israel will triumph, and when victory prevails, Israel will make peace."
Beyond the clear divisive, ‘us vs. them’ type frames, Sharon also constructs a community by
arguing that all people who are either Jewish, or share the Israeli values of freedom, liberty, and
democracy, are united in the fight against terrorism. This portrayal of dualism the good vs.
the evil is not only representative of framing rhetoric that pits one community against another,
but also appeals to the feeling of unity within that community. Continuing in this line, Sharon
argues later in the speech that:
“Israel will act the same as any democracy that protects itself. Israel will act like any
other democracy which fights the forces of darkness. Israel will continue to uproot the
terror infrastructure.”
Framing the conflict as that of a democracy against the forces of darkness distinctly corresponds
to a divisive, ‘us vs. them’ framing approach. However, characterizing the country as a part of
the club of democracies, Sharon also appeals to the outside world to understand the struggle
121
‘Sharon: 'The battle continues'’, CNN Online, 8 May 2002,
http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/05/07/mideast.explosion/index.html?iref=allsearch (accessed
28.4.2016).
that Israel is facing, and that the methods it chooses are indeed those that any other democracy
would have chosen.
In addition to the frames set out above, Sharon also makes a point of attributing blame and
responsibility to the PA:
“Today, in the face of all our sincere efforts to move forward on the political path, we
received another proof of the true intentions of the person leading the Palestinian
Authority. Those who call for millions of tears are guilty, those who constantly incite
are guilty. Those who fan terrorism are guilty. Those who launch terrorism are guilty.”
Repeating four times that “the person leading the Palestinian Authority” is guilty sends a clear
message of attributing blame for the situation to Yasser Arafat.
To summarize, Ariel Sharon’s statement builds a community of values and invokes the need to
fight this community against “the forces of darkness”. Thus, both unity and conflict frames play
a dominant role in his statement. In addition, he puts emphasis on attributing blame to Arafat
and the PA.
6.7 Bus 830, Megiddo Junction, 5 June 2002
About a month after the attack in Rishon LeZion, 17 people, most of whom off-duty soldiers,
were killed in an attack on a bus driving north from Tel Aviv, using a car packed with
explosives.
122
In the absence of official speeches by high-ranking government officials, the government
spokesperson Avi Pazner gave a commentary to the media, saying that “[Arafat and the PA]
are doing everything to encourage terrorist organizations to continue their attacks”,
123
thus
placing blame on the PA and its Chairman. This focus on attributing responsibility should also
be understood in the context of ongoing discussions about the adequate military response on
the side of the Israelis after attacks had only somewhat ceased as a result of Operation Defensive
122
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing at Megiddo junction-5-Jun-2002’, 5 June 2002,
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Terrorism/Palestinian/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20at%20Megiddo%20j
unction%20-%205-Jun-2002.aspx (accessed 29.4.2016).
123
‘Israel bus attack kills 17’, BBC Online, 5 June 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2026113.stm
(accessed 29.4.2016).
Shield. Also Education Minister Limor Livnat contributed to this discussion in commenting
after the attack that:
“[t]here is no doubt that Israel cannot sit quietly and refrain from considering an
operation, a very, very significant response in order to prevent disasters of this type. We
will need to locate ourselves in [Palestinian] cities in a more significant manner, to sit
there in some way or other as we did in Operation Defensive Shield.”
Minister without portfolio Effi Eitam likewise gave a short comment to media, underscoring
the fact that the PA had disappointed Israeli hopes for peace negotiations by saying that “There
is no partner for diplomacy […] What we saw today tells us one thing: it’s us or them.”
124
Thus,
in summarizing the three statements, it is clear that framing focuses on conflictual issues, but
that neither of the three hypothesized frames is present in a definitive manner, with merely
Eitam mentioning an ‘us vs. them’ approach to the conflict. However, blame attribution to the
PA and Arafat is present, and forms the basis for a discussion about the consequences of the
attack.
6.8 Bus 32, Patt Junction Jerusalem, 18 June 2002
The next ‘mass-casualty’ attack followed a mere 13 days later, when a suicide bomber targeted
a Jerusalem bus in the morning, killing 19 people and injuring 74 others, many of them high
school students.
125
In response to the attack, Prime Minister Sharon took the unusual step of visiting the site of the
bombing, which was the first time for him to do so as Prime Minister, and gave comments to
reporters:
“The horrible pictures we saw here today of these murderous acts by the Palestinians
are stronger than any words. This terrible act the continuation of the Palestinian
terrorism it is this terrorism that we have to fight, and that is what we shall do. […]
What kind of Palestinian state do they intend to create? What are they talking about?”
126
124
S. Goldenberg, ‘Demands for vengeance after car bomber kills 16’, The Guardian, 6 June 2002,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/jun/06/israel3 (accessed 29.4.2016).
125
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing at Patt junction in Jerusalem-18-Jun-2002’, 18 June
2002, http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-
Archive/2002/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20at%20Patt%20junction%20in%20Jerusalem%20-%2018.aspx
(accessed 30.4.2016).
126
‘Bomb kills 19 on Israeli bus’, CNN Online, 19 June 2002,
http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/06/18/mideast.violence/ (accessed 30.4.2016).
By attributing the acts of terrorism to “the Palestinians” at large, Sharon frames the entire
Palestinian community as guilty of “these murderous acts”. This convolution between the
terrorists and the Palestinian population as a whole is then continued by questioning whether a
Palestinian state, based on values that allow for the execution of such attacks, would have any
merit. Sharon thus clearly frames the Palestinian constituency at large as the enemy, and draws
the conclusion that Israel needs to continue to answer these attacks with military measures.
Likewise at the scene of the attack, government spokesperson Arye Mekel gave a short
statement attributing blame to the Palestinians and questioning their sincerity regarding the
diplomatic negotiations: “We see exactly what’s going on. Anytime that there’s a chance for
any resumption of the peace process, this is what the Palestinians are doing.”
127
Again, the
blame lies not with Arafat or the PA, but with the Palestinians at large.
A day after the attack, the Prime Minister’s Office issued an official statement announcing a
recourse to increased military measures and announced Operation Determined Path, which was
to start on 22 June 2002:
“Following Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's discussions with the leaders of the political
parties in the coalition and top security establishment officials, it was decided to take
several military actions against the Palestinian Authority and the murderous
organizations. This includes - inter alia - a change in the way Israel responds to
murderous acts of terror: Israel will respond to acts of terror by capturing PA territory.
These areas will be held by Israel as long as terror continues. Additional acts of terror
will lead to the taking of additional areas. As a result of yesterday's murderous act of
terror in Jerusalem, Israel will shortly take PA territory as outlined above.”
128
A study gauging public approval prior to the military operation found that 80% of Israeli Jews
supported it, even though they indicated that this would only lessen the threat of terrorism for
a limited time. This, the authors of the study conclude, indicated that, at this point in time,
Israelis were ready to support almost any counter-terrorism measures, including a renewed
takeover of West Bank territory, even if the benefits were not sustainable in the long term.
129
127
Ibid.
128
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Statement from PM Sharon-s Office-June 19- 2002’, 19 June 2002,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/pressroom/2002/pages/statement%20from%20pm%20sharon-s%20office%20-
%20june%2019-%202002.aspx (accessed 30.4.2016).
129
E. Ya’ar & T. Hermann, ‘Determined Path Is Supported by 80% of Jewish Israelis’, 7 July 2002,
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/determined-path-is-supported-by-80-of-jewish-israelis-1.40373
(accessed 30.4.2016).
To summarize, official reactions to the Patt Junction bombing saw a considerable attribution of
blame to the Palestinians at large, which then also involves a characterization of that
constituency as the enemy, one allowing for murderous acts to be carried out, as well as one
that could not possibly deserve a state based on the values it defends. Given the context of a
renewed military response, the statements also exhibited content related to strategic decision
making.
6.9 Central Bus Station, Tel Aviv, 5 January 2003
With the military measures undertaken during Operation Determined Path and the construction
of the security fence, the number of attacks, as well as their severity, dropped notably after July
2002, with August November seeing a monthly average of 2-3 large bombing attacks, and
none occurring in December.
130
The next ‘mass-casualty’ attack took place in January 2003,
when two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in South Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station
area, a neighborhood that is inhabited largely by foreign workers and new immigrants from
lower socio-economic backgrounds. The explosives, set off with a 30 second time interval,
resulted in the deaths of 15 Israelis and eight foreign nationals, and injured about 120 others.
131
The official response to the attack was relatively limited, in that no major speech was held nor
extensive political or military measures were taken, in order not to risk an escalation of violence
in the region at the time when the US was planning its invasion of Iraq. However, both Sharon
and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the wounded in Tel Aviv hospitals and gave
short statements to the press.
Speaking with one of the victims at Ichilov hospital, Sharon said:
“We are witnessing a new wave of horrible terrorism. When the terrorism stops, we will
return and talk peace. This is cruel terrorism that does not differentiate between
130
Note that the number of total attacks is larger, as shootings have not been included in this count. Israel
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles
(Sept 1993)’, n.d.,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/suicide%20and%20other%20bombing%20
attacks%20in%20israel%20since.aspx (accessed 28.4.2016).
131
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing at old central bus station in Tel-Aviv-5-Jan-2003’, 5
January 2003, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-
Archive/2003/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20at%20old%20central%20bus%20station%20in%20Tel-.aspx
(accessed 30.4.2016).
children, women, men, Israeli citizens, and foreigners. The goal is to hit innocent
people.”
132
Although not explicitly stating it as such, his statement is underlining that being a victim of
terrorism puts people, different as they may be, in one camp, that of the innocent people, which
opposes the camp of the terrorists. Thus, his statement is indicative of an ‘us vs. them’ type
framing, which is consistent with also Netanyahu’s statement at Tel HaShomer hospital, calling
for international support in the fight against terrorism:
[W]e’re the opposite: we give life without differentiation. We spare no efforts to treat
the foreign citizens, as if they were ‘flesh of our own flesh.’ We ask that the international
community, and not only those countries whose citizens were targeted in this attack,
support us in our efforts to fight and defend ourselves against this aggression.”
133
Defining the Israeli community (“we”) as oppositional to those that kill without differentiation,
also Netanyahu uses a framing approach that divides between the good and the bad, while
counting not only Israel, but also all those that have been targeted by terrorists, to the good side,
and calling for their support.
Lastly, Sharon also attributes blame to the Palestinian leadership, saying that:
All attempts to lead to a cease-fire, even today, are failing due to the Palestinian
leadership that continues to support, fund and initiate terror. Our goal is to stop the
brutal terror, to achieve calm and quiet. Only when the brutal terror is stopped only
then we will be able to talk peace”.
This attribution of responsibility is similar to such statements made after previous attacks and
emphasizes the frustration on the side of the Israeli leadership with regard to international
pressure to negotiate with the PA while terror attacks, with varying degrees of PA influence,
are still ongoing.
To summarize, the reactions to this attack, while not extensive, nevertheless emphasize that
Israel is not the only victim of terrorism, but that foreign citizens are likewise targeted and
should therefore identify with the Israelis, rather than support the Palestinians. Thus, an ‘us vs.
them’ type framing approach is used to juxtapose those who carry out terrorist attacks and those
who fall victim to terrorism. In order to showcase its particular concern for the foreign citizens
132
‘Israel bars PA officials from traveling to London meeting’, Jerusalem Post, 6 January 2003,
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/818488/posts (accessed 30.4.2016).
133
‘Israel Still Reeling from Catastrophic Attack’, Arutz Sheva, 6 January 2003,
http://www.ourjerusalem.com/hotnews20030107/ (accessed 30.4.2016).
that were injured in the attack, the government also issued announcements in English assuring
all foreign workers that they could seek treatment or visit friends and family in hospitals on a
basis of “no questions asked”,
134
enabling them to be treated anonymously, an important
consideration for many without valid visas or working permits, which is an issue among migrant
workers in Israel.
6.10 Bus 37, Haifa, 5 March 2003
The next ‘mass-casualty’ attack occurred in Haifa, when a suicide bomber detonated his
explosives in a municipal bus. It was also the first suicide bombing since the attack on Tel
Aviv’s Central Bus Station analyzed in the previous section. 17 people were killed and 53 others
injured in the attack.
135
In the absence of official reactions by members of the government themselves, two government
spokespersons reacted to the attack. Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Mark Sofer, who attributes blame to the Palestinian leadership and characterizes the terrorism
as follows:
Once again the bestial hand of Palestinian terrorism has struck at the heart of Israel.
We are facing a leadership which at best is unwilling to act, and at worst is actually
complicit in many of the terrorist activities that we see. What we see is terror, slaughter
of innocent children, people going about their daily lives.”
136
In vivid imagery and a clearly divisive framing approach, Sofer paints the picture of the
“Palestinian beast” striking at Israel’s heart. He thus juxtaposes the terrorists, which he
characterizes both as bestial and Palestinian at large, with the Israelis, who are merely the
victims of constant Palestinian aggression. The fact that he characterizes the attack as “the
slaughter of innocent children” underlines the lack of morality and values that he describes in
the Palestinians. Moreover, Sofer attributes blame also to the Palestinian leadership, accusing
them of complicity in the attacks.
134
J. Keyser, ‘Two Suicide Bombers Kill 22 in Tel Aviv’, Associated Press, 5 January 2003,
http://research.lifeboat.com/israel.htm (accessed 30.4.2016).
135
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing of Egged bus No 37 in Haifa-5-Mar-2003’, 21 January
2004,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/suicide%20bombing%20of%20egged%20b
us%20no%2037%20in%20haifa%20-%205-ma.aspx (accessed 1.5.2016).
136
‘Bombing Draws International Condemnation From Leaders’, Ha’aretz, 6 March 2003,
http://www.haaretz.com/bombing-draws-international-condemnation-from-leaders-1.17152 (accessed 1.5.2016).
Speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office, spokesperson David Baker takes a similar
framing approach in the following statement:
“The attack in Haifa is yet another Palestinian bloodletting of innocent Israeli civilians.
Israel will not tolerate this terror, and will continue to take the necessary steps to
eradicate it.”
137
Describing the attack as a “Palestinian bloodletting” likewise attributes the attack not only to
the individual terrorist, but to Palestinian society as such, which he then diametrically opposes
to the victims of the attack, who are “innocent Israeli civilians”. He then announces a non-
specific answer on part of the Israeli side to the attack.
To summarize, Israeli officialdom did not voice a strong reaction in response to the attack.
Looking at the political context, this might have been due to the Palestinians following through
on their commitment of appointing a Prime Minister independent of Arafat, which occurred on
19 March 2003, and the US-sponsored Road Map for Peace coming underway. However, the
two official statements by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office
indicate a strong ‘us vs. them’ type framing, characterizing the Palestinian side as beasts devoid
of morality and the Jewish side as the victims of constant aggression.
6.11 Bus 2, Shmuel HaNavi Quarter, Jerusalem, 19 August 2003
The next attack to be analyzed targeted a bus returning from downtown Jerusalem to one of its
religious neighborhoods, therefore the 23 victims killed were mostly members of the ultra-
orthodox community, returning from prayers at the Western Wall customary to these
communities during the week before the Jewish New Year. Over 130 others were injured in the
suicide attack. As a result of the attack, the government decided to freeze the diplomatic process
with the PA and initiate increased military measures against Hamas and other militant
organizations.
138
The official statement issued by the Security Cabinet on 1 September 2003, the delay likely due
to the public holiday, condemned the attack and announced the change of course in the Israeli
policy towards the Palestinians:
137
‘Haifa suicide bomber kills 15’, CNN Online, 11 March 2003,
138
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Suicide bombing of No 2 Egged bus in Jerusalem-19-Aug-2003’, 19
August 2003, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-
Archive/2003/Pages/Suicide%20bombing%20of%20No%202%20Egged%20bus%20in%20Jerusalem%20-
%201.aspx (accessed 1.5.2016).
“The murderous Hamas attack of August 19, 2003 in Jerusalem, in which 21 people
were murdered, had opened a new and different chapter for Israel in its relationship
with the Palestinians. […] In response, the security establishment has changed track
and adopted the following principles: 1) an all-out war against Hamas and other
terrorist elements, including continuous strikes at the organization’s leaders, 2)
Increasing the pressure on foci of terror in Judea and Samaria, 3) Freezing the
diplomatic process with the PA…”
139
Vocal reactions to the attack and its implications for a change in policy came predominantly
from right-wing ministers. Minister of Housing and Construction Effi Eitam, for instance,
called for the immediate removal of Yasser Arafat and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual
leader of Hamas, arguing that “no matter which organization claims an attack, these two names
are always responsible for the same evil”.
140
Similarly, Minister of Transportation Avigdor
Lieberman argued to stop all gestures of good will to the Palestinians and instead take unilateral
steps to dismantle all terrorist organizations. However, also left wing politicians spoke in favor
of a concerted approach to pursue the terrorist organizations. Minister of Justice Tommy Lapid,
for instance, argued that
“the games are over. The Palestinian Authority can no longer hide behind the word
“truce” without taking decisive measures against terrorist organizations. Abbas and
Dahlan [PA Minister of State and Security] need to decide whether they want peace
with us or with the terrorists. After this attack, Israel will not pursue any reconciliation
measures as long as the Palestinian Authority does not fulfill its Road Map
obligations.”
141
To summarize, the reaction of Israeli government actors focused strongly on the ongoing
diplomatic process in the framework of the Road Map for Peace, voicing their disillusionment
regarding Palestinian non-compliance with the plan. Even though the statements and responses
relate to the conflict and to the duties and relations of both parties, they are not representative
of any framing approach outlined in this thesis. Rather, they are factual demands and
139
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Cabinet Communique-1-Sep-2003’, 1 September 2003,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2003/Pages/Cabinet%20Communique%20-%201-Sep-2003.aspx
(accessed 1.5.2016).
140
D. Bechor-Nir & A. Somfalvi, ‘בורקב דוע ,תאפרע תא קלסל :םתיא’, Ynetnews, 20 August 2003,
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-2731633,00.html (accessed 1.5.2016).
141
Ibid.
assessments of the political situation, placing blame on the Palestinian leadership and serving
to justify Israel’s political course of action.
6.12 Buses 6 & 12, Be’er Sheva, 31 August 2004
After a period of relative calm, with only three major bombing attacks outside of military
checkpoints in 2004, two buses were simultaneously targeted by suicide bombers in the
Southern city of Be’er Sheva, where the security fence to West Bank territory had not been
completed yet. 16 people were killed and 100 others injured.
142
Responding to the attack, Prime Minister Sharon issued a short statement, conveying his
condolences to the bereaved families and outlining the government’s stance:
“Today’s acts of terror in Be’er Sheva were very serious. On behalf of the Government,
I would like to convey condolences to the families and our best wishes for a quick
recovery to the wounded. This afternoon, I held talks with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon on the continuation of activity and on
methods in the war against terror. I am going to continue talks on these issues. We will
fight such Palestinian terror with all our forces.”
143
While this statement is very general, it does emphasize images of war and conflict, both by
saying that all forces will be used to fight Palestinian terror, as well as by conveying to the
public that talks with both the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff are already underway.
Also the Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom reacted to the attacks, placing blame on Yasser Arafat,
who “has brought nothing but terror and evil since his return to the territories”.
144
Moreover, PM Sharon gave a speech in a school in Ma’ale Adumim, a West Bank settlement,
the following day, where he likewise addressed the attacks in Be’er Sheva:
In our lives, in our beautiful country, what happens here is that joy and sadness coexist.
Today too is a difficult day. On the one hand, we are happy to see all these flowers here.
142
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Double bombing of buses in Beersheba’, 31 August 2004,
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-Archive/2004/Pages/Double%20bombing%20in%20Beersheba%2031-Aug-
2004.aspx (accessed 1.5.2016).
143
Ibid.
144
Ibid.
On the other, we feel the heavy burden of the tragedy that occurred yesterday. Also in
this field, I believe we can achieve tranquility and security.”
145
While calling the attack a tragedy, Sharon also states that he has hope for achieving tranquility
and security. Perhaps due to the fact that he is speaking to children, or because time had passed
since the more intense periods of the conflict, this is the first time that he uses hope as a thematic
frame when speaking about the conflict.
To summarize, the Israeli government actors reaction to the double bombing was limited,
consisting of not much more than issuing short statements and a brief mention in a speech.
Likewise, the content of these statements, while to some extent blaming the Palestinian
leadership and using war rhetoric, seems more settled than that of previous speeches, even
speaking about hope for the future in the face of 16 deaths.
6.13 Summary
The following overview in Figure 5 presents the findings of the analysis of the framing
approaches in the previous section:
146
Target
Date
“Unity”
Framing
“Us vs.
Them”
Framing
“Resilience”
Framing
Other Framing
Dolphinarium
Discotheque
01.06.2001
Minor
None
Minor
Major Blame
Sbarro
Restaurant
09.08.2001
None
Minor
Minor
Minor Blame
Bus 16, Haifa
02.12.2001
Major
Major
Minor
Major Blame
Park Hotel
Netanya
27.03.2002
Major
Major
Major
Major Blame
Matza
Restaurant,
Haifa
31.03.2002
None
Major
Minor
Major Blame
145
Prime Minister’s Office, ‘PM Sharon’s Statement at the “Gimel” State School in Ma’aleh Adumim’, 1
September 2004, http://www.pmo.gov.il/English/MediaCenter/Speeches/Pages/speech010904.aspx (accessed
1.5.2016).
146
The determination of ‘some’ and ‘frequent’ in relation to the framing content is determined by a content
analysis of the relative centrality of a framing theme within the collective acts of speech after an incident, see
Chapter 4 on Methodology.
Rishon
LeZion Game
Club
07.05.2002
Minor
Major
None
Minor Blame
Bus 830,
Megiddo
Junction
05.06.2002
None
None
None
Major Blame
Bus 32, Patt
Junction
18.06.2002
None
Major
None
Minor Blame
Tel Aviv
Central Bus
Station
05.01.2003
None
Minor
None
Minor Blame
Bus 37, Haifa
05.03.2003
None
Major
None
Minor Blame
Shmuel
HaNavi Bus
19.08.2003
None
None
None
Major Blame
Beersheva
Buses
31.08.2004
None
Minor
None
Minor Blame,
Minor Hope
Figure 5: Findings of the Analysis of Statements and Speeches by Government Actors.
Looking first at the presence of statements and speeches after each attack, it is evident that
earlier attacks provoked a stronger and more extensive reaction on part of the government actors
than those occurring at a later point during the Intifada. Thus, the intensity of the conflict, its
highest point being March 2002, correlates with the effort of government actors to issue
statements and give speeches framing the attacks.
Looking next at the distribution of framing approaches throughout the analyzed time period, it
is evident that the reactions to earlier attacks exhibited more often all three types of framing
approaches, whereas the later attacks only exhibit examples of “us vs. them” framing. In
addition, and unforeseen by this thesis, the analyzed material exhibited a considerable measure
of blame attribution, pointing to the PA and its leadership as the guilty party to the conflict.
This latter framing was consistently present in all attacks analyzed. The most frequent framing
approaches used were thus the divisive, “us vs. them” framing and framing focusing on
attributing blame to the other side. It is also evident that attacks with longer speeches by
government actors exhibit more of the framing approaches than those in which only short
statements were given. A framing approach using hope as a theme is only prevalent in the last
attack.
7. Discussion
The findings of the previous section demonstrate that there is considerable evidence that affirms
the hypotheses drawn from the literature, but also evidence that diverges from what the
literature expects to a significant extent. The following section will proceed by elaborating on
the similarities and differences between the findings of the analysis and the literature on fear
management outlined at the beginning of this thesis.
Generally speaking, there was evidence of all three framing approaches hypothesized, pointing
to the presence of the three different approaches to fear management. However, the use of each
framing approach is by no means equal throughout the studied attacks, but varies with time and
political context.
7.1 Unity Framing
With four out of 12 attacks exhibiting at least some evidence of frames emphasizing unity in
the aftermath of an attack, it can be seen as a relevant fear management approach, yet not the
approach of choice taken by government actors in the majority of cases. What is more, all
instances of unity framing occurred within the first two years of the Intifada, whereas
afterwards, such framing was not registered anymore.
Looking at the content of the framing, it is evident that the analyzed speech confirms some of
the recommendations set out in the literature: Authors such as Smith and Smith,
147
Canel and
Sanders,
148
as well as Christensen and colleagues
149
point to inclusive strategies that emphasize
unity among different constituencies. This is also to be seen in the case of Israel, with Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon appealing to the unity among the left and right wing, and the call to
refrain from excessive political criticism during times of hardship. However, in an interesting
deviation from the recommendations in the literature, the unity framing in the Israeli case is
only applied to Jewish Israelis, and in one case even to the global Jewish community. Thus,
rather than emphasizing unity and coexistence with the Israeli Arab population, government
actors chose to underscore the unity of those who share a narrative of identity, whether that of
147
Smith & Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership as persuasion, p. 231.
148
Canel & Sanders, ‘Crisis Communication and Terrorist Attacks’, p. 463.
149
Christensen et al., ‘How to cope with a terrorist attack?’, pp. 14-15.
Zionism, as in the case of Jewish Israelis, or the feeling of belonging to a global Jewish
community. Thus, the unity framing has an important identity component, which is different
from the all-encompassing identity narrative of democracy and tolerance often invoked by
European leaders.
150
Rather, Israeli government actors appeal to unity within a more group-
specific identity narrative, deliberately excluding those constituencies which, by virtue of
religion or ethnicity, fall outside that narrative, or share a narrative with the enemy. This finding
would substantiate the argument of those who emphasize that people find strength and manage
fear after attacks by turning inward towards their own communities.
151
7.2 Divisive, ‘Us vs. Them’ Framing
With nine out of 12 sampled attacks exhibiting at least some divisive framing, this framing
approach is the one used most frequently by Israeli government actors among the three
hypothesized approaches.
Looking at the content and combination of framing after the analyzed attacks, it is evident that
government actors’ statements get more confrontational as time passes. Whereas the first attack
did not result in acts of speech invoking divisive framing, likely due to the fact that truce
negotiations were still ongoing, all attacks from August 2001 onwards had at least some framing
content appealing to the divisions between the constituencies. Indeed, from June 2002 onwards,
attacks were framed almost exclusively in conflictual terms, with the Israeli leadership rallying
their constituency in defense of its values and identifying the enemy they are fighting against.
There is a noticeable lack in either unity or resilience frames in all attacks analyzed after that
point in time. This seems to show that divisive framing was the means of choice on the part of
Israeli government actors to respond to the attacks, referring multiple times to the historical and
religious narrative of the Jewish Israeli community, but also characterizing the Arab
community, from which the terrorists stem, as a violent and brutal society without morals. It is
important to note here that in many of the analyzed cases, no differentiation was made between
the individual terrorists and their constituency at large in this regard.
150
See for example the analysis by Canel & Sanders, pp. 463-4 or Christensen et al., pp. 14-15.
151
See for example Pyszczynski, Solomon & Greenberg, In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror, p. 30;
Miller & Landau, ‘Communication and Terrorism’, p. 83; Van Dijk, Ideology. A multidisciplinary approach, p.
43.
Interpreting these findings, it is evident that invoking the history of the Jewish community, as
well as the Zionist narrative of state building, functions as a lens through which government
actors want their constituencies to make sense of the attacks. Appealing to the achievement that
the Jewish Israeli community has accomplished in building the state of Israel, for instance,
Israelis are asked to interpret the attacks of the Second Intifada as not more than a transient
disturbance within the bigger picture, not strong enough to destroy the fruits of their labor.
Beyond the Zionist narrative, also the religious identity of the Jews is appealed to by
government actors, which centers around the notion of being a persecuted people. Appealing to
this sense of persecution is another method for Israeli leaders to influence how their
constituency understands the conflict around them and inspire a feeling of duty to withstand it,
as their ancestors have done before them.
Also a part of the divisive framing, the Arab community is framed in opposition to the Jewish
one, with the former being described as brutal, violent, murderous and evil, whereas the latter
is portrayed to be a humane society attuned to the sanctity of life and the values of freedom and
democracy. Often, war rhetoric is accompanying these statements, indicating that the Jewish
community needs to defend its home and its values against the Arab terrorists.
Lastly, as the previous section has shown, divisive framing played a major role also in uniting
a constituency against the enemy. Thus, whereas appealing to unity was one of the framing
approaches used by government actors, this was largely limited to those sharing a narrative of
religious and historical identity.
All of these observations are indicative of the importance of emphasizing the values of a
community when framing a terrorist attack and its implications on a constituency. The fear-
reducing effect of rallying people around the defense of the values they identify with has been
argued by proponents of Terror Management Theory,
152
and other scholars such as van Dijk,
153
as well as Smith and Smith.
154
152
See for example Pyszczynski, Solomon & Greenberg, In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror, p. 30.
153
Van Dijk, Ideology. A multidisciplinary approach, p. 43.
154
Smith & Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership as persuasion, p. 231.
7.3 Resilience Framing
The instances where government actors appealed to the strength and resilience of Israelis are
limited to the first five attacks analyzed, of which a majority only exhibited minor resilience
framing content. After March 2002, the resilience theme was not raised by government actors
in their statements and speeches following terror attacks.
Given the time of occurrence and relatively limited frequency of resilience framing, it is evident
that only at the beginning of the conflict, politicians felt the need to remind their constituency
of their strength in overcoming hardship, also referring to historical instances of war and
conflict, which the Israeli people had to withstand. As such, also resilience is, in the Israeli
context, connected to its identity and shared narrative. At later stages in the Intifada, however,
the absence of such framing may be indicative of an accommodation effect, as described by
some observers of the conflict.
155
The Israeli leadership may not have felt the need to appeal to
the resilience of the people at those later stages, as people had grown more accustomed to the
attacks and were already proving their resilience after each attack that was happening.
The prevalence of resilience frames, thus, confirms those authors arguing for the benefits of
emphasizing the strength and self-efficacy of a community, such as ‘t Hart,
156
Bakker and De
Graaf
157
, as well as De Graaf & De Graaff.
158
However, it needs to be clearly stated that the
appeal, and perhaps effectiveness, of resilience frames declines with the number of attacks that
occur. Thus, while emphasizing resilience in a speech to a constituency might help to overcome
fears in the aftermath of a single attack, Israeli leaders did not think it necessary to do so after
a number of attacks had been carried out, with the population having grown accustomed to the
feeling of terrorist attacks and having witnessed their own resilience in the aftermath.
7.4 The Blame Game
In addition to the three framing types derived from the literature review, there was a fourth
framing type consistently prevalent throughout the statements and speeches by government
155
A. Bleich et al., ‘Exposure to Terrorism, Stress-Related Mental Health Symptoms, and Coping Behaviors
Among a National Representative Sample in Israel’.
156
‘t Hart, ‘Symbols, Rituals and Power: The Lost Dimensions of Crisis Management’, p.44.
157
Bakker & De Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management’, p. 15.
158
De Graaf & de Graaff, ‘Bringing Politics back in: The Introduction of the ‘Performative Power’ of
Counterterrorism’, p. 272.
actors, which is the attribution of blame to the PA, and especially to its Chairman, Yasser
Arafat. The persistence of government actors in pursuing this line of framing irrespective of
political context or time passed since the start of the Intifada points to a strong belief in the
effectiveness of this framing approach.
Putting blame on Arafat meant that people could channel their anger and frustration into the
person representing the Palestinian Authority. While this seems clearly beneficial as a political
measure of support for military action, it also has implications for successful fear management:
Arguing in line with scholars of the psychology of terrorism, the fear of a terrorist attack stems
partly from its unpredictability and lack of understanding of the situation.
159
By naming a
culprit, and thereby prompting the public to interpret the attacks as part of the known struggle
for Palestinian statehood, they become, if not predictable, at least understandable to a certain
extent. Thus, rather than interpreting the attacks as the unpredictable work of Islamic radicals
with different processes of thought and rationality, the public is led to understand them within
the larger political context, like another war in a long row of conflicts about Palestinian
statehood and Israel’s right to exist.
7.5 Summary of Findings
Analyzing the overall findings in order to answer the research question set out in this thesis,
sufficient evidence could be found in support of Hypothesis Two, whereas Hypotheses One and
Three could only be partially confirmed, due to the limited evidence that was found. In addition,
the collected evidence points to a further framing approach, that of blame attribution, which
was used with high frequency by Israeli government actors.
With regard to the partially confirmed hypotheses, pertaining to unity and resilience framing,
it was also evident that both approaches contained a major component of divisive, ‘us vs. them’
framing within them. With regard to unity, the appeal to unify was limited to the Jewish Israeli
or world Jewish community, excluding those identifying with the Palestinian narrative, whereas
with regard to resilience, appeals to the Jewish Israeli historical narrative of overcoming
hardship were frequent. Thus, it can be said that the divisive, ‘us vs. them’ framing, as well as
159
See for example: Kahneman & Tversky, (eds.). Choices, values and frames.; Forst, ‘Managing the Fear of
Terrorism’, p. 281.
that of blame attribution, were the fear management approaches of choice among Israeli
government actors.
Reflecting on the relevance of these findings for the theoretical framework set out through the
literature review, it is evident that, while all of the framing approaches developed in the theory
are observed in the case study, this research nevertheless enriches and develops theory by
qualifying the parameters of their use and introducing an additional significant framing
approach: This thesis has shown that divisive framing, an approach to fear management set out
mainly within the field of psychology, is by far the most frequently used approach out of the
three hypothesized frames. Furthermore, this research indicates that both resilience and unity
frames are subject to limitations: Unity framing is used in reference to a limited constituency
sharing a certain identity narrative, whereas resilience framing shares that same limit and
moreover ceases to be used by government actors when multiple attacks have occurred over a
longer time span and an accommodation effect has set in. Finally, the consistent presence of
blame attribution frames after each attack indicates the importance that government actors
attribute to giving the public a known culprit and thereby offering a familiar interpretative
framework to understand the attacks and reduce fear.
Blame attribution as a theoretical concept has been taken up in some aspects of terrorism and
counter-terrorism research: It has been identified, for instance, from the terrorist’s perspective,
as an agent of moral disengagement, a reason for why terrorists engage in violence.
160
Likewise,
crisis management literature has investigated how public leaders attempt to evade blame for
terrorist attacks or other natural or man-made disasters.
161
However, to this author’s knowledge,
blame attribution as a strategy of fear management has not been sufficiently studied, with the
findings of this thesis pointing towards the significance of blame attribution to counter-
terrorism theory and practice.
160
See for example, M. Hafez, ‘Moral Agents, Immoral Violence: Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement in
Palestinian Suicide Terrorism’, in: J. Victoroff (Ed.), Tangled Roots: Social and Psychological Factors in the
Genesis of Terrorism. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2006, pp. 292-307; M. Crenshaw, ‘The Causes of Terrorism’,
Comparative Politics, vol. 13, no. 4, 1981, pp. 379-399.
161
See for example, A. Peter McGraw, A. Todorov & H. Kunreuther, A policy maker’s dilemma: Preventing
terrorism or preventing blame’, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 115, 2011, pp. 25
34.
8. Conclusion
In order to shed more light on the counter-terrorism practice of fear management after terrorist
attacks, this thesis has set out to analyze the fear management framing approaches of Israeli
government actors during the Second Intifada. Synthesizing the literature of a still emergent
theory field, three types of fear management framing approaches were derived and tested in
three hypotheses: While part of the existing research, notably from a crisis communication
perspective, pointed to the effectiveness of frames emphasizing unity
162
(Hypothesis 1) and
resilience
163
(Hypothesis 3), other authors emphasizing a psychological approach maintained
that divisive framing, stressing the struggle of ‘us’ vs. ‘the Other’
164
(Hypothesis 2), is crucial
to mitigate fear and anxiety within a constituency in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
Answering the research question set out in this thesis, in which acts of speech after 12 selected
attacks were analyzed, found extensive evidence in support of Hypothesis 2, thus confirming
that a divisive framing approach was chosen by the Israeli leadership in a majority of attacks.
However, both unity and resilience framing approaches were also prevalent, especially so at the
beginning of the Second Intifada, albeit to a lesser extent. Likewise, both of these framing
approaches contained a major component of divisive framing, as well as ample reference to a
shared historical, political, and religious narrative: With regard to unity, the appeal to unify was
limited to the Jewish Israeli or world Jewish community, excluding those identifying with the
Palestinian narrative, whereas with regard to resilience, appeals to the Jewish Israeli historical
narrative of overcoming hardship were frequent.
In addition to the three hypothesized framing approaches, this thesis found ample evidence of
a fourth, significant frame type: that of blame attribution to an external Other, in this case, the
Palestinian Authority and its Chairman, Yasser Arafat. This externalization of blame, it is
argued, serves to provide a familiar interpretative framework to understand the attacks, in this
case, as an outgrowth of a decade-long political struggle for Israel’s right to exist. Interpreting
162
Smith & Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership as persuasion, p. 231; Canel & Sanders,
‘Crisis Communication and Terrorist Attacks’, p. 463; Christensen et al., ‘How to cope with a terrorist attack?’,
p. 14-15.
163
‘t Hart, ‘Symbols, Rituals and Power: The Lost Dimensions of Crisis Management’, p. 44; Bakker & De
Graaf, ‘Towards a Theory of Fear Management’, p. 15; De Graaf & de Graaff, ‘Bringing Politics back in: The
Introduction of the ‘Performative Power’ of Counterterrorism’, p. 272; Forst, ‘Managing the Fear of Terrorism’,
p. 283.
164
Pyszczynski, Solomon & Greenberg, In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror, p. 30; Van Dijk,
Ideology. A multidisciplinary approach, p. 43; Smith & Smith, The White House speaks: Presidential leadership
as persuasion, p. 231.
the attacks as such reduces the unpredictability of terrorism, which is a main cause of cognitive
risk distortion and the resulting disproportionate fear of victimization.
165
Analyzing how these findings relate to the body of literature, this thesis has highlighted the
significance of a psychological approach to fear management, emphasizing an ‘us vs. them’
framing.
166
Regarding the emerging literature on fear management as a practice of counter-
terrorism, this thesis has contributed to clarify the relationship between three approaches set
out by different scholarly communities: Rather than contradictory, both divisive and inclusive
framing can be used side by side, although inclusive framing, at least in this case study, pertains
largely to a limited community that shares a common narrative of identity. This narrative, which
is based on the history and religion, as well as the values of a community, is in this case also
central to the third framing approach, that of appealing to a community’s resilience and
strength. Likewise, the practice of blame attribution should find a more prominent place within
the literature on counter-terrorism in general, and fear management in particular, as it can be
central to mitigating the impact of a terrorist attack on a community.
With regard to practice, unity and resilience are often the frame approaches of choice after
recent terrorist attacks targeting European countries, where deepening rifts between immigrant
and native populations induce politicians to refrain from rhetoric that may stir up sentiments
between the two. However, if the goal of public leaders is to reduce fear within the population,
then it seems that divisive, ‘us vs. them’ framing approaches, underlining the defense of the
targeted constituency’s values, are a crucial element of meaning making efforts in the aftermath
of an attack. Naturally, and as argued by this thesis, fear and impact management will never be
the only end that politicians pursue in their rhetorical efforts after terrorist attacks. Thus, public
leaders need to strike a delicate balance between reducing fear and other goals, such as
preventing a deterioration of relations among a society’s various groups. The challenging way
forward, it follows, may lie then in constructing narratives of community values and identity to
which people can connect and which they feel compelled to defend, while at the same time
including within these narratives those groups of society whom traditional paradigms of
national or even European identity have hitherto rejected.
165
Marshall et al., ‘The psychology of ongoing threat’; Kahneman & Tversky, (eds.). Choices, values and
frames; Sinclair & Antonius, The Psychology of Terrorism Fears.
166
See for example Pyszczynski, Solomon & Greenberg, In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror, p. 30.
As previously argued, the research presented in this thesis is relatively specific in the parameters
analyzed: The conclusions drawn from a society with a highly pervasive narrative of cultural
identity experiencing a protracted period of terrorist attacks can hardly be an authoritative guide
to just any society experiencing occurrences of terrorism. Nevertheless, what has worked for
the Israelis in the past may lend inspiration to public leaders facing similar challenges in other
countries today. In order to further explore the effects of public leaders’ rhetoric in the aftermath
of terrorist attacks on fear management, it would be interesting to conduct complementary
research in different societies, both most similar and most different to the Israeli case. Likewise,
the centrality of identity narratives to successful fear management warrants further academic
investigation, as it has repeatedly surfaced in the analysis of this thesis. It would furthermore
be of high value to both theory and practice to ascertain key identity and value narratives that
transcend ethnic and religious rifts within society and still hold enough attraction for native
populations to rally in their defense.
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This Research Paper explores and questions some assumed causal links between terrorism on the one hand and (forced and irregular) migration on the other. The paper delves into the role that state and non-state terrorism might have in causing migration as well as analysing if and how refugees’ camps and the diaspora community might be a target for radicalisation. One of the findings of the paper is how migration control for the control of terrorism is a widely used instrument; however, it might hurt bona fide migrants and legal foreign residents more than mala fide terrorists. Finally, this Research Paper offers recommendations that can go some way towards disentangling the issues of (refugee) migration and terrorism.