Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip fired hundreds of missiles at Israel within forty hours in November and posed an escalating challenge to Tel Aviv: implementing a new strategy to deceive Israel&#039;s much touted anti-missile system.
<p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00</strong></p><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Since its creation on Palestinian lands in 1948, Israel has tried to portray itself as an undefeatable military power that won’t tolerate the slightest threat to its security. During the six day war of 1967, Israel’ military routed the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies. It seized East Jerusalem al-Quds and the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai desert from Egypt and the Golan Heights from <span>Syria. Ever since, it has launched many brutal wars in the region in a bid to show off its military edge and scare off potential enemies. Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and different parts of the Palestinian territories have all been among the targets of the Israeli war machine that hugely depends on U-S aid money and technology. The besieged Gaza Strip has been one of the main targets of the Israeli military over the past decade. Israel’s military makes no secret of its aggressive strategy towards the besieged Palestinian territory.</span></p><p><strong>SOUNDBITE [Hebrew] Gabi Ashkenazi</strong><strong>,Former Israeli Army Chief of Staff: </strong><em>“We are going to war. I want it to be clear: We are not in a routinesecurity mission or anything like that, I want aggression. Now, if wesuspect a building, we will take it down. If there is a suspicious manin one of a building's floors, we will fire a shell at it. No</em><em> hesitation. If it's about us or them, it will be them. No hesitation. If an unarmed man is walking towards us, 30 seconds after we shot atthe air (for warning) this man is dead. No hesitation, no one should have any second thoughts. Let the mistakes be on their lives, not ours. This is the state of mind, this is war.”<strong></strong></em></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Even the slightest form of retaliation by Palestinian resistance groups in the coastal territory would receive an indiscriminate military response. Israel launched two major offensives against Gaza in 2008 and 2014 in a bid to destroy the capabilities of Palestinian resistance groups there.</p><p><strong>SOUNDBITE [Hebrew] Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister: </strong><em>“Hamas will pay and pay heavily for its crimes. I call on the</em><em> inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Every one of these places is a target for us.”</em></p><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> The first all-out war against Gaza left over 14 hundred Palestinians dead while the 2014 onslaught killed more than 22-hundred Palestinians mostly civilians. The wars wreaked havoc on the already poor infrastructure of the coastal region. Israeli officials and military planners did their utmost to depict Israel as an invincible force that no one should dare to test.</p><p><strong>SOUNDBITE [Hebrew] Moshe Ya’alon, Former Israeli Minister for Military Affairs: </strong><em>“If Hamas's leaders think they can tire us out, or believe that we</em><em> have set ourselves a timetable, they are mistaken. We are not in a hurry to go anywhere, we have patience, we have stamina. Operation Protective Edge will stop only when there is total calm in the south of the country and rockets and mortar shells are no longer launched towards Israel. Until then, we will continue to pound Hamas targets and its infrastructure, at this stage, from the air.”</em></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Israel’s military supremacy has however been constantly challenged by the resistance front in the region. Resistance groups inside the Gaza Strip have been on the forefront of fighting Israel. These fighters have gradually enhanced the number, range and accuracy of their rockets. During the onslaught that began in 2008 and lasted for three weeks, Palestinian groups fired over seven hundred rockets into Israel. In the 50-day war of 2014, nearly five thousand rockets and mortars were fire at Israel. The rocket capabilities of resistance groups in Gaza have turned into a major problem for Tel Aviv. The latest confrontation between the Israelis and the Palestinians revealed these rockets are turning into a game changing factor.</p><p>The most recent military confrontation between Israel and Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip occurred last month. It was the most intense since the 2014 war. The clashes broke out on November 11 and lasted for forty hours.</p><p><strong>TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00</strong></p><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Israel carried out airstrikes across the coastal territory. The military wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said on its website that Palestinian fighters fired about four hundred missiles and mortar shells at Israel causing considerable damage. An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire ended the latest episode. The ceasefire led to the resignation of Israel’s minister for military.</p><p><strong>SOUNDBITE [Hebrew] Avigdor Lieberman, Former Israeli Minister of Military Affairs</strong><strong>:</strong> <em>“I am here to announce my resignation as Defence Minister of the state of Israel. The question asked is why now. For me, what happened yesterday the ceasefire combined with the long-term deal with Hamas is to surrender to terror. There's no other definition, no other meaning, but surrender.”</em></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Lieberman warned that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement would within one year reach the military prowess of powerful Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. The resignation brought the cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the brink of collapse. The performance of Netanyahu’s cabinet and the Israeli military in the latest confrontation has caused a lot of controversy. The announcement of the truce triggered protests in Israel with critics condemning Netanyahu for failing to act decisively. Knesset opposition leader TzipiLivni came down heavily on the Israeli Cabinet calling the truce a security fiasco and a fatal blow to Israel’s deterrence. The mood in Gaza was however much different. Jubilation and celebration could be seen everywhere.</p><p><strong>SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Palestinian Protester:</strong><em>“We congratulate ourselves and we congratulate our people because we</em><em> have these brave resistance factions which have proved and keep on proving every day that they are responsible and can repulse the aggression (of Israel) and rein it.”</em></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Hamas described Lieberman’s resignation as a political victory for Gaza.</p><p><strong>SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Ismail Radwan, Senior Hamas Leader:</strong> <em>“This is a victory for Palestinian resistance, recognition of defeat.</em><em> It is one of the results of the failure of the crime (Israeli operation) in Khan Younis, and the failure of Lieberman's policy to impose siege on the Gaza Strip and a result of the steadfastness of our Palestinian people.”</em></p><p><strong>Narration:</strong> Radwan attributed the victory to a new fighting strategy. He said the Palestinians have chosen heavy shelling of the Israeli towns close to Gaza, instead of targeting larger cities. But why didn’t Israel broaden the conflict and once again and use overwhelming force. According to Khader Habib, a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, the destruction and casualties caused by Palestinian rockets destabilized the Israeli deterrent force. He says Netanyahu was left with no other way but to surrender and calm the situation.</p><p>The Islamic Jihad movement says Palestinian fighters have acquired better missile capabilities that can cause substantial damage to Israeli forces. The noticeable improvement in the military capabilities of Gaza comes despite the fact that the coastal region has been under a stringent Israeli blockade since 2007. Meanwhile, an Israeli website closely linked to military intelligence services has revealed that the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas is now in possession of “game-changing” projectiles that could destroy targets in Israel with high precision.</p><p>The Debka file says the 333mm-caliber rockets have a range of 11 kilometers. It says the projectiles are capable of destroying anti-missile systems, artillery emplacements, and armored force concentrations. Israel is finding it increasingly difficult to counter the missile threat posed by resistance groups in Gaza. This is the moment when a Hamas guided-missile struck a bus carrying Israeli forces in the city of Jabalia last month. The increasing number of successful missile attacks from the Gaza Strip, as highlighted in the November escalation, is further proving that Israel’s much talked about anti-missile system is not fully reliable.</p><p>This is Israel’s highly costly anti-missile system, Iron Dome. Each battery costs 100 million dollars. Iron Dome is designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells. Each Iron Dome projectile fired to destroy an incoming missile from Gaza costs over 50-thousand dollars. All the high cost is probably no big burden as Israel receives an average three billion dollars a year in military aid from the United States. But all the spending and advanced technology has apparently failed to fully protect Israel. In every confrontation, a significant number of Palestinian rockets somehow find their way and land in Israel. A senior Hamas military source says during the latest escalation Palestinians managed to deceive Iron Dome by launching barrages of up to 10 rockets each time. Observers believe Israel’s current security policy is failing to effectively protect it. As time goes by, and resistance groups in the region augment their arsenals, Israel is expected to face much tougher challenges.</p></p>