The events of September 11, 2001 and the onset of the “war on terrorism” have focused scholarly attention on terrorism as a concept , a discourse , and a form of crime and victimization . In the past, criminological theories have typically addressed terrorism as a form of political crime . Terrorists were defined as “convictional criminals”  and terrorism as a type of political violence employed to bring about social change . Recent discussions on terrorism refer to it as an international “hate crime”  and distinguish between revolutionary, religious and nationalist types/causes of terrorism. Scholars discuss the origin of terrorism (e.g. state vs. political), the qualities of political terrorism and the degree of application . Victimology, which has primarily focused on harm resulting from law violations within a specific legal system, eschewed the analysis of victimization ensuing from terrorist acts that challenge the legitimacy of a socio-legal system.I Thus, there is little victimological research on victims of terrorism.
Using Israel as a case study, this article attempts to fill this gap. It explores the application of victimological/criminological concepts and theories to explain recent trends and patterns of victimization related to terrorism. Since September 29, 2000, which marks the onset of the second intifada (uprising) in Israel, the country has experienced increased levels of mass victimization as a result of intensive terrorist activities.
This article will address three aspects of the phenomenon. First, it presents the competition over the status of victim in the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has been impacted by the outbursts of terrorism. Second, it describes the mass victimization or, in the words of Ewald and von Oppeln , the “inventory of suffering” in Israel over the past four years. Third, it endeavours to apply a theoretical framework and concepts of Victimology/criminology to explain victimization patterns and fluctuations. The article concludes with suggestions for directions in studying mass victimization due to protracted war.