Willing to Die: Palestinian suicide bombers
The motivation of those who choose to perform suicide attacks has puzzled sociologist and psychologists for several decades. There is no one explanation. However, six influential factors have been linked with homicide bombers:
According to the
Carrying out suicide attacks for the sake of God and nation is considered not only a worthy thing to do, but is actively facilitated by some community and mosque leaders, schools and even the Palestinian media. Palestinian extremists feel that the suicide attacks are just and something that Westerners will never understand because of cultural and religious differences. Martyrdom is considered to be one of the highest achievements a person can attain. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) stated that martyrdom increases ones social status after death, as well as that of his or her family. Martyrs are glorified and their names and faces often decorate walls and posters throughout many Palestinian communities.
Some families even encourage their relatives and children to engage in martyrdom. Parents of suicide terrorists often feel a sense of pride for the retaliatory act their children have carried out against
The Palestinian beliefs concerning martyrdom are not unique to the
An article in Daily Policy Digest, The Motivation for Terrorism, suggested that a majority of homicide bombers come from Palestinian societys privileged class and are well educated. Therefore, they have no real use or need for money that is often offered by terrorist organizations and supporters to the families of suicide bombers. Some sociologists refute this view, claiming that most suicide terrorists, as well as their families, are actually on the lower end of the economic scale. Thus, money does act as motivating factor, influencing some to sacrifice themselves for the sake of securing their family financially.
The money given to the family of suicide bombers comes from various sources. AIPAC stated that on
Other monies have been donated to the families by private and political organizations located in
Even though the teachings of Islam forbid suicide and the harming of innocent people, extremists view suicide attacks against Israelis as sacred acts. They are not considered to be selfish acts -- spawned by depression or other psychological problems -- but of self-sacrifice for the greater good of the Palestinian people and God. Dr. Louis Rene Beres writes in Understanding Terror: The Suicide Bases of Palestinian Bombers, a martyr was quoted as saying that every day on which the sun rises and no Jew is killed, nor any martyr has died, will be a day for which we will be punished by Allah.
According to Ellis Shumans article, What Makes Homicide bombers Tick? those who blow themselves up to destroy Israelis are considered to have fulfilled a mission by God. Furthermore, they are said to have forged their own gateway to heaven.
Political and nationalistic factors also play a critical role in motivating a suicide terrorist. The most obvious political issue is the Israeli occupation of the