Honors Theses


College of Arts and Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Vehicular ramming attacks are a relatively new phenomenon within transnational terrorism. Their use is concentrated heavily within Israel and the West Bank. Using data from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, I conduct an analysis of automobilebased terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank. I identify examine the relationship between Israeli counterterrorism policy, specifically the institution of barriers to physical movement, and the adoption of vehicle ramming tactics. These walls and checkpoints inadvertently provoke vehicle ramming attacks, even if effective at reducing firearm and explosive-based attacks. Exploration of existing literature on terrorist tactic selection suggests that vehicular attacks should be more widespread, yet these attacks remain limited outside of the Israel-Palestine conflict. This observation remains consistent with the theory that specific Israeli counterterrorist tactics have generated an increase in vehicular terrorism. Early instances of Palestinian vehicular attacks provide insight into the mechanisms at play in inducing and sustaining this phenomenon. I conclude by considering the implications of these mechanisms and potential policy recommendations for Israel, along with any other democratic states facing these attacks.

Publication Date


First Advisor

Tkach, Benjamin

Second Advisor

Shoup, Brian

Third Advisor

Snyder, Christopher