'Eye for an Eye' Perpetuates Violence

ZURICH, Switzerland, Oct. 12 (UPI) — Revenge cuts both ways in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with attacks by either side leading to retaliation, U.S., Israeli and Swiss researchers say.

Scientists of the University of Zurich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Tel Aviv University and Quinnipiac University in Connecticut found attacks by either side lead to violent retaliation from the other.


Lead author Johannes Haushofer, a neurobiologist and economist at the University of Zurich, and colleagues say both Israelis and Palestinians may underestimate their own role in perpetuating the conflict and that part of the violence by each side is a direct reaction to previous attacks by the other party.

The research team analyzed data on the killings and rocket attacks in the Second Intifada between Israel and Palestine from 2000 to 2008, using the statistical method Vector Autoregression.

“This technique allows us to study the effect of a single additional attack from one side on future attacks by the other side,” Haushofer says in a statement. “We find that when one side attacks the other, they directly inflict a certain additional number of fatalities or rocket attacks on their own people, because they can be nearly certain that the other side will retaliate. For example, when Israeli forces kill five Palestinians, they automatically increase the probability that Israelis will die from Palestinian attacks on the following day by 50 percent.”

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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