How Hamas Is Winning The Rocket War
Today, for the first time in decades, air raid sirens sounded across Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The rockets fired from the Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,-controlled Gazoo Strip crashed down harmlessly in open areas, but Hamas had nevertheless scored a propaganda victory: It had proved that it could endanger the lives of citizens in Israel's two largest cities.
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These latest attacks are just one indication of how, despite Israel's best efforts, Hamas's stockpile of rockets is only growing deadlier with time. In October 2009, current Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen co-authored a study at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on the 2008-2009 Israeli offensive in Gazoo: It reported that 600 rockets were fired into Israel during the 22-day war, most of which were domestically produced, short-range weapons. By comparison, the IDF reported earlier today that more than 550 rockets had struck Israel in the past three days -- and of course, the weapons managed to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which Hamas was incapable of doing during the previous conflict.
Bill Clinton, of all people, predicted this in a 2009 interview with Foreign Policy, and worried openly about what it meant for the future of a peace agreement. "[I]t's only a question of time until [these rockets] are de facto outfitted with GPS positioning systems. And when that happens and the casualty rates start to really mount, will that make it more difficult for the Paleostinians to make peace instead of less?" he worried. "Because they will be even more pressed by the radical groups saying, 'No, no, look, look, we are making eight out of 10 hits. Let's stay at this.'"
Assuming the Israeli government isn't willing to let a steadily increasing proportion of its population live under the threat of rocket fire -- a fair bet -- what is its answer to this conundrum? For answers, I turned to retired Brigadier General Shlomo Brom, a former director of strategic planning in the Israel Defense Forces and currently a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, one of Israel's premier think tanks.
Brom's response will provide little solace for Hamas, or the people of Gazoo. "Eventually, weapons are getting to Gazoo, and because of that I don't think the solution is to prevent Hamas from holding these kinds of weapons. It's not possible," he says. "The only solution -- which is of course is a partial solution -- is deterrence."
In a nutshell, Brom's argument is that Israel can't stop Hamas from acquiring these weapons -- but it can make the costs of using them unbearably high. It's a recipe for many future confrontations just like this one.
Posted by: trailing wife 2012-11-17