Reader Supported News & Global Security & Global Security.org & Israeli Weapons.com & Al-Resalah – 2012-11-20 00:18:08
Mr. President: Call Off Benjamin Netanyahu
Marc Ash / Reader Supported News
(November 18, 2012) — Dear Mr. President,
Understand this now, the ongoing assault of Gaza by the Israeli military harms the people of Gaza, harms the people of Israel and harms the people of the United States, and that may only be the beginning. You will either confront the Israeli right wing now, or confront them after unimaginable carnage and global security destabilization.
The rockets fired by Hamas have no military significance. Their sole aim is to focus world attention on the situation. It is a classic Gandhian strategy, not — as you well know — a realistic threat to the safety of Israeli citizens.
Hamas’ military commander Ahmed Jabari was targeted after truce was negotiated. His assassination was an act of Israeli retribution, and was intended for the sole purpose of provoking a military confrontation.
If Israel’s fortunes are harmed they are harmed by their gun-toting right-wing. There is a vibrant Israeli-left-resistance that the US has for years utterly ignored. Lend your voice to the Middle Eastern peacemakers, rather than the war makers. Act quickly, time is of the essence.
Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
A Comparison of Weapons
Why is it the hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza do relatively little damage while Israel’s airstrikes destroy entire buildings and cause horrific civilian casualties? In part, it has to do with the weapons. Hamas’ classic surface-to-surface Quassam missiles (used until 2005) were handmade, six-foot-long rockets weighing 77 pounds, with a range of 4-5 miles (8-9.5 km) and an explosive payload of 11-19 pounds (5-9 kg). The Delilah air-to-ground rocket fired from Israeli F-16s weigh 410 pounds (187 kg), are 9 feet (2.71 meters) long, have a range of 249 miles (400 km) and an explosive payload of 110 pounds (50 kg). (–EAW.)
Hamas Rockets vs. Israeli Air-to-Ground Missles
November 2012 witnessed a major escalation of HAMAS rocket capabilities, as the Iranian Fajr-5 artillery rocket was employed for the first time. With a range of about 75 kilometers, it had twice the range of rockets previously used by HAMAS, and brought Tel Avic and Jeruslalem within range of HAMAS attacks. At the outset of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF targeted a significant number of long-range rockets sites (over 40 km) owned by Hamas.
This deals a significant blow to the terror organization’s underground rocket launching capabilities and munitions warehouses that are owned by Hamas and other terror organizations. The aim of targeting these sites is to cripple the terrorist organization’s rocket launching and weapons build-up capabilities. One Fajr-5 [range of about 75 km] launch site that was struck IAF aircraft was located in close proximity to a mosque and other civilian structures.
Sirens also went off late Thursday 15 November 2012 in Tel Aviv sparking a panic and nearly crippling mobile phone service after missiles fired from Gaza approached the city. Israeli officials say the missiles fell into the sea. Palestinian militants issued a statement claiming responsibility, saying they had fired Iranian-made rockets.
It is the first time sirens had sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in 1991. Tel Aviv is about 80 kilometers from Gaza, indicating the use of the Iranian Fajr-5, which has twice the range of the rockets previously used by HAMAS. On Friday 16 November 2012 one rocket landing in a field outside Jerusalem.
Yossi Mekelman, a regional expert at London-based Chatham House, told Radio Free Europe on 17 November 2012 that the Fajr-5 missiles were smuggled from Iran to Gaza through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. “The assumption is that they arrived through the Sinai Peninsula through the tunnels [to Gaza] because since the end of the Mubarak regime the border [between Egypt and the Gaza Strip] at Rafah is quite open,” Mekelman says. “And if you remember, Israel two weeks ago attacked an arms factory in Sudan. So the alleged route goes from Iran to Sudan into the Sinai Peninsula, and the lawlessness in the Sinai enables the smuggling of more and more sophisticated weapons.”
The year 2008 saw a dramatic increase in the extent of HAMAS rocket fire and mortar attacks on Israel, with a total of 3,278 rockets and mortar shells landingin Israeli territory (1,750 rockets and 1,528 mortar shells). These numbers are double those of 2007 and 2006, years which marked a five-fold increase over prior years. There was also a significant increase in the number of Israeli residents exposed to rocket fire.
Prior to 2008, the city of Sderot (about 20,000 residents) as well as villages around the Gaza Strip were the main targets of rocket fire and mortar shelling. In 2008, the cities of Ashkelon and Netivot came under attack by Grad artillery rockets with a range of about 20 kilometers.
Later, during Operation Cast Lead, Ashdod, Beersheba, and other cities were attacked by a previously un-identified rocket with a range of 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. This rocket created a new reality in which nearly one million Israeli residents [about 15 percent of the entire population] were at risk
The Qassam Rocket
Production of the shorter range Qassam rocket began in September 2001, following the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The rockets have been manufactured and deployed primarily from the Gaza Strip although Israeli Defense Forces have seized rockets in the West Bank.
The Qassam rocket is cylindrical and contains a small warhead on its tip. The rocket contains four small stabilizing wings on one end, a middle section containing the engine, and an attached warhead with a detonating fuse on the other end. The rocket is constructed from iron approximately 2.5-3mm thick.
The rocket gets its name from Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam [less commonly, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassim], a militant Syrian preacher who advocated rebellion against European colonial powers in the Middle East during the 1920s and 1930s.
Izza-Din Al-Qassam, a Muslim Brotherhood member, fought the French in Syria, lost and then took his fight against the British and Jewish Haganah in Palestine. He preached Jihad (holy war) and revolution against both the British and the Zionists, and organized and led the first Palestinian guerilla group. He was killed in action on 19 November 1935 in the first Palestinian guerilla action against British forces. His martyrdom triggered the Great Revolt of 1936-39. Hamas has named part of its organization after Qassam and in recent years developed the Qassam rocket.
The Qassam rocket was first launched into Israeli territory on March 5, 2002, by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. While the rocket lacks a guidance system and is very inaccurate, the initial psychological effect of the rockets upon Israel has been significant. Prior to the Qassam, Palestinian militants lacked the means to conduct long range attacks.
The simple nature of the small rocket makes it exceedingly hard for Israeli officials to shut down its production. The IDF has noted that militants commonly hide a Qassam in a commercial truck, drive to a clearing near the Gaza border and launch the rocket. One Hamas website states that this takes only 15 minutes.
In response to Qassam rocket attacks, the Israeli government has launched raids against production factories and launching sites within the Gaza Strip. The Israeli goverment has also installed early warning radar systems to notify communities of Qassam launches and to instruct residents to move to bomb shelters.
Numerous variants of the Qassam rocket have been developed and launched. The Qassam-1, first used in October 2001, had a maximum range of approximately 3-4.5km. The rocket was approximately 60mm in diameter and weighed about 5.5kg.
The Qassam-2, used primarily from 2002-2005 was approximately 180cm long, had a maximum range of 8-9.5km and could carry a payload of 5-9kg. Beginning in 2005, newer types of Qassam rockets known as the Qassam-3 were developed, possessing a maximum range of 10-12km and carrying a payload of 10-20kg.
A total of about 450 Qassam rocket attacks were launched against Israel over the two years 2003 and 2004.
In November 2003 Israel Television Channel Two Military Affairs Correspondent Ronnie Daniel reported that the Palestinians were testing stages of a new generation Qassam 4 that was to have a range of 17 kilometers.
Since September 2005, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades developed a Qassam rocket with a maximum range of 15-16.5km range and two rockets with diameters of approximately 115mm and 155mm, respectively. Additionally, in June 2006 and again in July 2006 the Brigades fired a Qassam rocket equipped with two engines.
During 2004 HAMAS was responsible for an increase in Qassam rocket attacks. A rocket attack on Sderot on June 28 was the first fatal attack against Israelis using Qassam rockets. Two Israelis died in the attack.
In September, two Israeli children were killed in Sderot from another Qassam rocket attack. In response to the continued Qassam rocket fire, the IDF launched a three-week operation on September 28, in which 130 Palestinians (among them 68 HAMAS and Palestine Islamic Jihad militants) and five Israelis died, according to press reports.
HAMAS activity dropped significantly in 2005, in part because of its adherence to the ceasefire. After agreeing to the ceasefire, Fatah’s militant wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed credit for Qassam rocket launches from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev desert that destroyed property and injured Israeli civilians and soldiers.
During 2006 Israel grappled with the problem of Qassam rocket launches from the Gaza Strip. On numerous occasions, rockets struck Israeli communities in the western Negev desert, including Sderot, or landed near or in the city of Ashkelon. Evidence suggested that Palestinian terrorists were able, on occasion, to improve the range of the Qassams. On at least three occasions, longer-range Katyusha rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip.
To address the problem of rocket launches from populated areas, the IDF modified its rules of engagement to permit its forces to fire on targets a few hundred meters from Palestinian homes and police positions. Early in 2006, Israeli security officials said Israel was not targeting HAMAS because it forbade its members to participate in Qassam rocket launches.
The Israelis maintained, however, that HAMAS activists were providing assistance to militants from other terrorist groups launching Qassams. â€¦
The F-16 Fighter Jet
F16 is a multi-role fighter that serves Heyl Ha’avir in attack and interception missions. The plane entered service in 1980, and forms the IAF’s backbone to this day. The F-16’s carry out a wide range of complex missions, from attacking deep in enemy territory to air superiority, and have built up an extraordinary record of acheivement in Heyl Ha’avir.
A year after their arrival the planes already attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor, destroying it completely. In Operation Peace for the Galilee they achieved air dominance by shooting down about 40 Syrian planes, in the course of the operation against the SAM’s in the Beka’a valley. The F-16’s participate in numerous operations, on a variety of missions, to this day.
DELILAH AL — Aircraft Launched
(Fixed Wing) Stand-Off Surface Attack Missile
Israeli Military Industries, Ltd.
Developed for the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the combat proven DELILAH is an advanced electro-optically guided, stand-off weapon system, designed to provide unique precision strike capabilities against high value, re-locatable and time critical targets.
DELILAH has been developed by IMI/ASD and the Israeli Air Force to meet the most challenging requirements of strike missions, offering unique capabilities including ‘pull-up’, ‘go-around’ and ‘re-attack’ capabilities, derived from the weapon’s extended range and loitering capability.
DELILAH allows the Launching Aircraft to remain outside of the lethal envelope of modern Medium and Long Range Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), providing air crews with effective, high precision, man-in-the-loop stand-off strike capability.
Flying deep into the enemy territory, as far as 250 Km, the weapon relies on sophisticated, on-board flight control and navigation systems providing fully autonomous navigation and flight handling.
Max Weight…………..187 Kg
Max Range……………250 km
UHCC: Israel Is Using Internationally-banned Weapons
GAZA, (November 17, 2012) — Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC) charged that the Israeli occupation was deliberately targeting the children and women of Gaza by using internationally prohibited weapons.
UHCC reported in a press statement on Saturday that such large numbers of dead and injured children in the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza demonstrates the clear Israeli targeting of civilians particularly innocent children.
The Israeli targeting of children and women is a flagrant violation of all international norms and conventions, UHCC said, calling on human rights and humanitarian organizations and the World Health Organization and UNICEF to protect the children of Palestine from being targeted by the occupation”.
The union expressed deep concern because of the use of the internationally prohibited weapons by the Israeli army in total violation of the international laws.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, considered the targeting of the home of Salah family northern Gaza Strip where 30 Palestinians were wounded as an evidence of the systematic targeting of civilians.
Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the movement, said in a written statement on Saturday that “targeting Salah family’s home and other houses, bears witness to the systematic Israeli targeting of Palestinian civilians.”
The Israelis will pay a heavy price for their government’s crimes that crossed all lines,” he added.
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