Israel’s Policy in Extortionist Terror Attacks (Abduction and Hostage Barricade Situations)

Boaz Ganor


One of the most challenging type of terror incidents is that of an extortionist attack, such as hostage-taking and kidnappings. Extortion attacks require governments to evaluate a series of options for handling the incident, ranging from giving in to all of the terrorists’ demands, to full-blown military-rescue operations. Since the 1970s, Israel has handled a number of extortionist attacks, using the Rabin Doctrine, which advocates rescue operations as a means of handling the attacks. This policy led to a shift in the kind of attacks being perpetrated against Israelis, with a shift from hostage-taking attacks to abductions. During extortionist attacks, decision-makers are faced with the dilemma of how to deter future terror attacks, while ensuring the safe release of hostages. This article illustrates the dilemmas that decision makers face during extortionist attacks, and will highlight the options that decisions makers have, using Israel’s experience as a case study.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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