The Iron Dome defense system has proven to be an effective tool in preventing the loss of human life in Israel. I think understanding what Iron Dome is, how it works, U.S. involvement, and the impact it has had on the current aerial conflict between the Gaza strip and Israel is essential to understanding the escalation of attacks. Between the dates of November 14th and 17th alone the Iron Dome missile defense system has stopped 245 of 737 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza.
Iron dome provides defense from short-range missiles and mortar shells by targeting incoming missiles and then firing an interceptor missile to destroy them midair. Israel began developing this defense system in 2007. According to the IDF “The radar detects a rocket launch and passes information regarding its path to the control center, which calculates the predicted point of impact, If this location justifies an interception, a missile is fired to intercept the rocket. The payload of the interceptor missile explodes near the rocket, in a place that is not expected to cause injuries.” This advanced technology has the ability to deter multiple attacks simultaneously and is not affected by weather conditions.
The security analysis group IHS Jane’s determines every Iron Dome battery to cost roughly $50 million. While Israeli officials estimate missiles to cost at least $62,000. As of now Israeli Defense Forces have deployed five Iron Dome batteries, but have plans to establish nine batteries by 2013. It has been estimated that Israel will need at least thirteen Iron Dome batteries to defend the entirety of its borders. The U.S. has played a significant role in the support and development of the Iron Dome missile defense system with $205 million committed to the program in 2010. President Barak Obama believes “This is a program that has been critical in terms of providing security and safety for Israeli families”
Since the number of rockets launched into Israel in the recent weeks have escalated to an egregious number, but the number of deaths or injuries inflicted have been minimal I cannot help but wonder how Hamas will choose to continue. If Hamas’ true goal is to kill as many Israeli’s as they can it is clear their efforts will need to be redirected. However, if Hamas’ intentions are to create and display to the world an image of Palestinian civilians dying at the hands of an overly aggressive Israel, they may be succeeding. No matter where you are in the world it is difficult to see accurate representation of each perspective of the conflict. While Israelis are living in fear of attack every moment of every day but have the security of the IDF to depend upon; innocent Palestinians are placed in harm’s way because of the lack of security Hamas offers after evoking a response from Israel. It is a terrifying thought, thinking that it may be the intention of Hamas to martyr their people in order to achieve their goal. On the other hand, it is very clearly the act of desperate people, people who have been systematically oppressed for years and the only hope offered to them is to return to their homeland. Are the missile attacks from Gaza the last-ditch effort to return to the land of Palestine and has the Iron Dome defeated these efforts? Will these people turn to alternative methods of fighting? Or will this be the moment history has been waiting for, will these people find a way to move forward with new hopes and build a future for their children.