Synopses & Reviews
In The Making of a Human Bomb
, Nasser Abufarha, a Palestinian anthropologist, explains the cultural logic underlying Palestinian martyrdom operations (suicide attacks) launched against Israel during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000andndash;06). In so doing, he sheds much-needed light on how Palestinians have experienced and perceived the broader conflict. During the Intifada, many of the martyrdom operations against Israeli targets were initiated in the West Bank town of Jenin and surrounding villages. Abufarha was born and raised in Jenin. His personal connections to the area enabled him to conduct ethnographic research there during the Intifada, while he was a student at a U.S. university.
Abufarha draws on the life histories of martyrs, interviews he conducted with their families and members of the groups that sponsored their operations, and examinations of Palestinian literature, art, performance, news stories, and political commentaries. He also assesses dataandmdash;about the bombers, targets, and fatalities causedandmdash;from more than two hundred martyrdom operations carried out by Palestinian groups between 2001 and 2004. Some involved the use of explosive belts or the detonation of cars; others entailed armed attacks against Israeli targets (military and civilian) undertaken with the intent of fighting until death. In addition, he scrutinized suicide attacks executed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad between 1994 and 2000. In his analysis of Palestinian political violence, Abufarha takes into account Palestiniansandrsquo; understanding of the history of the conflict with Israel, the effects of containment on Palestiniansandrsquo; everyday lives, the disillusionment created by the Oslo peace process, and reactions to specific forms of Israeli state violence. The Making of a Human Bomb illuminates the Palestiniansandrsquo; perspective on the conflict with Israel and provides a model for ethnographers seeking to make sense of political violence.
andldquo;The Making of a Human Bomb is a powerful book. Reflecting on suicide bombings, Nasser Abufarha explains more: the collective state of mind of the Palestinian population since the Oslo process broke down in 2000. His book will be quite useful for anyone seeking to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as perceived from the Palestinian side.andrdquo;andmdash;John Quigley, author of The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective
andldquo;The Making of a Human Bomb by Nasser Abufarha is required reading, for it links the 21st centuryandrsquo;s leading sociological perspective (culture) with the new centuryandrsquo;s quintessential form of political violence (suicide bombers, or SBs).andrdquo;
andldquo;[Abufarhaandrsquo;s] research is extensive and his thesis powerful. . . .andrdquo; - Steven E. Levingston, Washington Post andldquo;Short Stackandrdquo; blog
andldquo;[T]he best book I've come across on explaining the source of conflict. . . . The author does a very good job of presenting a complex situation and making it understandable. It's a powerful book. I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in the core reasons behind the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, understanding the Palestinian use of suicide attacks on civilians, and/or understanding some factors which drive the acceptance and use of suicide bombs in any culture.andrdquo; - Debbie White, Different Time, Different Place blog
andldquo;With this book, [Abufarha] has made several incisive contributions, and not only towards understanding the suicide bombers of the Intifada. Yet non-Palestinian scholars invested in research and reading about Palestine should read Abufarhaandrsquo;s book not only for his insightful analysis but also for the value of his reportage of the andlsquo;on the groundandrsquo; perspectives of Palestinians in the northern West Bank. On both accounts, and various mixtures thereof, this is an important book I highly recommend.andrdquo; - Les W. Field, Journal of Anthropological Research
andldquo;Abufarha can hardly be blamed for this apparent disconnect between his strongest material and his analytical conclusions. It results from writing perhaps the most difficult kind of ethnography imaginable, one whose physical subject has vanished and been replaced by competing ideologies. Abufarha deserves credit for rising to this challenge and writing an insightful, passionately researched, and consistently provocative if analytically uneven book. He has broken new ground; may others join him in tilling it.andrdquo; - Diana Allan, American Ethnologist
In The Making of a Human Bomb, Nasser Abufarha, a Palestinian anthropologist, explains the cultural logic underlying Palestinian martyrdom operations (suicide attacks) launched against Israel during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (200006). In so doing, he sheds much-needed light on how Palestinians have experienced and perceived the broader conflict. During the Intifada, many of the martyrdom operations against Israeli targets were initiated in the West Bank town of Jenin and surrounding villages. Abufarha was born and raised in Jenin. His personal connections to the area enabled him to conduct ethnographic research there during the Intifada, while he was a student at a U.S. university.
Claims that there is a cultural logic to Palestinian suicide bombings, and that these acts can neither be understood nor effectively countered without taking this into account.
About the Author
Nasser Abufarha is the Founder and Chair of the Palestine Fair Trade Association, based in Jenin, Palestine. He has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 1
2. Histories and Historicities in Palestine 26
3. State Expansion and the Violence of andquot;Peace Makingandquot; in Palestine 64
4. The Carrier 99
5. Dying to Live 136
6. The Strategies and Politics of Martyrdom in Palestine 189
7. Conclusion 224