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Friday, November 23, 2012

The dangerous success of Iron Dome

Old friend David Horovitz, writing at the Times of Israel blog he started, worries that Iron Dome is too much of a success.
When Israel’s short-sighted critics insistently refuse to look beyond the numerical asymmetry, the very effectiveness of Iron Dome becomes the latest weapon with which to attack Israel for its purported aggression. All those Gazans are suffering terribly, dozens have been killed, yet hardly any Israelis are dying? That can’t be right. How can the Israelis claim to be the victims of unprovoked and indiscriminate aggression? They’re still alive.
Even the reasonably fair-minded foreign news teams focus on Gaza. It’s a much better story. When you’ve done the first article about Israel’s missile defense system intercepting a rocket that, yes, would have killed dozens in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba or Tel Aviv, except that it didn’t, you’ll only be repeating yourself if you do a second piece along the same lines a day later. But Gaza? Fresh faces of suffering daily.
And the cumulative impact is to convey a sense of relentless Israeli assault on the densely populated Gaza Strip that simply must be unjustified. After all, again, the Israelis aren’t dying. They must be in the wrong.
So to restate what is blindingly obvious and yet still so often ignored: The fact that Israeli citizens have not been dying in large numbers in this conflict to date has nothing to do with Hamas, which is employing its very mightiest efforts to kill us, and which is highly skilled and experienced in the endeavor. We live, rather, because in partnership with our American allies we added Iron Dome, a remarkable new supplement to the alarm systems, safe rooms, fortified schools and other measures into which we have poured effort and resources over the years to defend our civilians from attack.
And Palestinians in Gaza are dying in growing numbers because they are either directly involved in trying to kill us or — to our genuine sorrow and Hamas’s cynical delight — they had the misfortune to be sleeping, walking, talking, studying or praying very close to a key Hamas terror chief, missile launch site, ammunition store or other element of the sprawling Hamas kill-the-Jews infrastructure.
To put it succinctly, Hamas is doing its best to kill any and all of us in Israel, while cynically seeking to protect itself from attack by emplacing its offensive capacity among Gaza’s often unwitting civilians. And Israel is doing its best to prevent its citizens being killed, while trying to thwart the attacks without harming Gaza’s civilians. There’s the relevant asymmetry.
The fact that Hamas and its Iranian-led sponsors have been thwarted this time — the shock they must have felt, and the awe we feel, at the astonishing success of Iron Dome — is no excuse for underestimating the ongoing danger. We reduced the strategic terrorist onslaught of the Second Intifada through a combination of arrests, intelligence work and the West Bank security barrier. So they switched their focus to rocket fire, devilishly anticipating that no barrier could stop an airborne assault. Now that we’ve found a means to reduce that threat, you can be 100 percent certain that our enemies are even now seeking new means to overcome those fiendish Zionists’ latest life-saving innovation.
 Indeed. Unfortunately, the government didn't listen to his prescription in the last paragraph. The next round, God forbid, is likely to be worse.

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