Criminal Justice Paper on Terrorism Exploration


The definitional accord over the nature of terrorism has remained indefinable over time despite the unrelenting efforts by the experts and policy makers to express the need to effectively stand the threat that terrorism fakes to liberal republics. The governments of both Israel and Sri-Lanka have put in place mechanisms to prevent the acts of terrorism in the future. The deterrence played a significant role in informing Israel and Sri-Lanka states’ military and judicial responses towards counter terrorism after the policies of denial and punishment strategies have proven unable to remedy the issue of terrorism in the longer term (Martin, 2015). The deterrence policy utilized by the two states included impeding terrorist movement and communication that frustrated the terrorists’ abilities to convene and plan, as well as create an environment where it is difficult to carry out a successful attack on a target. Besides, both Sri-Lanka and Israel applied targeted assassinations and arrests on the key planners and leaders of terrorism in Palestine territory and overseas.

The policies of deterrence were significant since they ensured that the two states sets their threats very high and follows through with their disproportionate retaliations. This was an indication of the commitment by Israel and Sri-Lanka to the principles of deterrence by threat where they made the threat known and enforcing the idea that no matter what the terrorists does against the two states, they shall never win. These strategies have proven to be very effective at minimizing and destroying the terrorist threats in Sri-Lanka and Israel. For example, in 1972, where more than ten Israelites were killed by Al Fatah terrorists, the government of Israel responded by killing every terrorist involved with the operation. This highlighted every aspect of Israel’s deterrence policy, as a result, the Al Fatah ceased international terrorist operations, and the black September was destroyed (Kydd & Walter, 2006).

The initiation of the disproportionate punishment to terrorists’ threats ensured that both Israel and Sri-Lanka kept in check the surrounding hostile Arab states and refusing to host terrorist groups. However, the targeted killings had numerous side effects because the policy of revenge attacks by the terrorist groups hence using the attacks to their advantage. This could be evident in the cases where the radical groups may have utilized the anticipated counter reaction by the two states to show the populace who the real enemies are, and to validate their violence in in stifling street protests in the year 2011.

The policy of deterrence continued to become ineffective over time because of the possible backlash to indiscriminate and discriminate deterrence. This was because of the punisher, which is Sri-Lanka and Israel, legitimizing the actions of the punished and could as well motivate others to join with the terrorist groups because they feel persecuted (Martin, 2015). This was evident in the case of Israel and Sri-Lanka when they focused on home demolition of suicide bombers families thereby decreasing the Palestine suicide attackers. However, when the two states preemptively demolished the homes of the terrorist threats, the suicide attacks increased (Kydd & Walter, 2006). The increased attacks were due to the fact that the abuses of power by these two great states validated the terrorist propaganda and gained support and sympathy for the group as they tended to stand up against the perceived aggressor.

The policy of deterrence, which involved targeted killings, fed a cycle of violence in Israel and Sri-Lanka. The perpetrators saw it as an act of revenge by the terrorist groups to which the two states would react against. The reaction against these terrorist groups by both Israel and Sri-Lanka would be seen by the hostile Arab states as repressive hence motivating further revenge attacks thereby feeding the cycle. Besides, the policy led to the decentralization and destruction of leaders in the terrorist organizations. When Israel targeted the Arab political leaders in the second Intifada, they believed they were immune to the assassination policy utilized by the Israel and Sri-Lanka. Nevertheless, Israel began to target both high and low profile leaders from the hostile Arab countries as well as Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The killing of the Hamas leaders and the siege of Arafat’s compounds led to the paralyzation of various terrorist groups and the forcing of the remaining terrorist organizations to go underground (Kydd & Walter, 2006).

The effectiveness of the deterrence policy in both Israel and Sri-Lanka led to the decentralization of power in various terrorist organizations to external leadership, which resulted in complicating the ability of the two states to effectively deter terrorist groups. Therefore, we can see several issues with Israel and Sri-Lanka’s domestic use of deterrence. For instance, the policy has become less effective over time and is being used against the two states, as forces such as Hamas know that they will carry out the threat, and use the disproportionate violence as legitimization of their cause. This only furthers the grievances and politicization of the Palestinian identity. Then, when they retaliate, they only further the grievances and politicization of the Israeli identity, making a vicious circle



Martin, G. (2015). Understanding terrorism: Challenges, perspectives, and issues. Sage Publications.

Kydd, A. H., & Walter, B. F. (2006). The strategies of terrorism. International Security, 31(1), 49-80.