Skip to Content

UCSB expert on Global, Religious Studies and Terrorism calls Hamas attack “suicide mission”

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Mark Juergensmeyer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Global Studies, Sociology, and affiliate of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, shared his insights with your NewsChannel as the latest war escalates in Israel.

"I think the tragedy that may occur will be in the days to come and the US can have some leverage on that. But of course, now it is (Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu who is really a held prisoner to his own domestic politics and the need like George Bush after 911 to do something dramatic, to make Israelis feel that he is, you know, doing something and, he is responding in a way that makes them feel like they've gotten what they've deserved."

Juergensmeyer has traveled to Gaza numerous times over the years and interviewed leaders of Hamas, including the second in command. At the time, Juergensmeyer questioned the leader about Hamas' senseless use of suicide bombers.

"I pointed out that he could not possibly win against the military might of Israel, one of the largest armies in the Middle East, with these kind of methods. And I said, 'You can't win this war.' And he said, 'Well, maybe not in my lifetime. Maybe not in my children's lifetime. Maybe not in my children's children's lives, but in my children's children's lifetime, we might succeed because this is God's war.'"

Juergensmeyer insisted this is not a war that Hamas will win and the terrorist group must know this recent attack on Israel is a "suicide mission."

"It was kind of a one shot. It's not like they have a whole army to back them up and now they can occupy Israel. So the only out, only possible outcome is what is happening right now."

He added that Saturday's stunning attack on Israel was Hamas' way of showing there has never been peace on that biblical strip of land, despite many people wanting to live normal lives in Gaza.

"Netanyahu also said, 'We're at war.' And I think a lot of people in Hamas heard that and said, 'Ah, you've gotten the point, you've gotten the message! It's not just peace. It's not just normal society. You thought that you could ignore the Palestinians and go about it, have all these deals with the Saudis and the Palestinians. No, we've been at war and we're still at war. And we want you to know that.'"

Juergensmeyer said the US is a "bystander" to what is happening and stressed that all American leaders can do is advise Netanyahu and urge him not to "overreact."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content