National Security: Rocket’s Red Glare

The Palestinians and Israelis are going at it again, or more precisely, the terrorist organization Hamas headquartered in Gaza is combating Israel as they periodically do. The latest round of fighting was triggered a month ago when three Israeli (including an American with dual citizenship) teenagers were abducted in the West Bank and murdered. In retaliation, Jewish thugs murdered a Palestinian teenager.
In response to these crimes, the Israelis quickly captured those responsible for the murder of the Palestinian; they will be prosecuted. In contrast, the Palestinians have celebrated the murder of the Israeli teenagers and proclaimed the murderers as heroes.  Then on the opposite side of Israel in Gaza, Hamas began to fire rockets at Israel’s population centers.
The Israelis, ever vigilant to attack from any corner, have intercepted most of the rockets with their Iron Dome missile defense system. Apparently, Iron Dome has a success rate approaching 90 percent. Hamas are also ‘tunnel rats’ and have infiltrated Israel with terrorists in an attempt to murder and kidnap Israeli citizens.
It is easier to spot and attack rocket launchers than underground tunnels which are quite sophisticated.  I understand that Israeli scientists are
hurriedly seeking technology that will enable them to detect the tunnels while they are being dug. Why they haven’t done this before is a bit of a mystery.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has also attacked Gaza, using precision weapons to target rocket launchers and tunnels. When air power had reached its limits of effectiveness, the Israeli Army attacked across the Gaza border to target Hamas.  Through all of this mess, Hamas has hidden their fighters among the Palestinian civilians (and often where children are located such as schools, orphanages and hospitals) which means that civilian casualties will rise.  This is in violation of the international Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) which Hamas disregards since it is in their propaganda interest to pile up bodies.
Now I have some experience with ducking rockets. In the spring of 1972, I was flying Phantoms from an airbase near the port city of DaNang, South Vietnam. Within miles south of the base was a North Vietnamese artillery battalion that had been there for years. Their job was to harass our flying operations with occasional attacks using 122mm Katyusha rockets. In the ten weeks I spent at DaNang, we were rocketed 13 times. They always came at night. A light attack was five rockets; a heavy one 15.  Imagine waking up from a dead sleep to the sound of warning sirens and stumbling through the dark in the search of shelter. That happened to me repeatedly.
A rocket has no guidance system which distinguishes it from a missile which is a guided rocket.  A rocket is aimed; then the motor is ignited and off it goes…in a hurry. When the rocket motor burns out, ballistics take over and the spent rocket falls to earth where upon contact, the warhead detonates spreading shrapnel far and wide.
This is what is happening over Israel where Hamas has fired more than two thousand rockets from Gaza into the Jewish state.  They are indiscriminate, again because there is no guidance system. They might fall into the desert, or hit a school; it makes no difference to Hamas. The rockets are a weapon of terror and that is their objective – to terrorize the Israelis. They might hit and kill Israeli Muslims (a quarter of Israel’s population); Hamas doesn’t care. The more victims, the better. The Hamas propaganda machine will blame all deaths on the Jews. Unfortunately, naïve people believe them.
Hamas, whom the people of Gaza elected to represent them when Israel vacated in 2005, could stop this war immediately by halting the rocket attacks.  They won’t until they don’t have any left.  Then they’ll begin stockpiling weapons for the next excuse to terrorize the Jewish state.
This is an asymmetric war since the Israeli military machine is so much more sophisticated than Hamas’ and the fact that Israel plays by the rules whereas Hamas does not.  Hamas can only win the ‘public relations war.’ Since Hamas will only stop when they have destroyed Israel and killed every last Jew, Israel’s only solution is to destroy Hamas. In this respect, Hamas is like al-Qaeda.  We will only defeat Islamic Jihadism when it has been destroyed.  The president may declare the war over, but that only is true when the enemy capitulates.  And make no mistake – the Jihadists are our sworn enemy.
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