The much celebrated Iron Dome defensive system experienced a major failure Sunday night at the Gaza border, not because it did not respond to an attack but because it misidentified a barrage of .50 Caliber Machine Gun fire as rockets and launched an estimated 20 missiles at it. There are no official numbers on the cost of each Iron Dome interception missile, but a quick Google search yielded a figure somewhere between 40 and a hundred thousand dollars, putting the economic damage of Sunday night’s glitch at around $1 million.
Former head of the National Security Council, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Giora Eiland, essentially chocks it up to “rebbe gelt.” Speaking on Israel Radio Monday morning, Eiland said, “This is something that should not have happened,” adding, “I hope that the system will be readjusted, so that there will never again be such an incident of automatic fire response.”
The Iron Dome is inherently the brainchild of a dysfunctional security and foreign policy, whose response to an enemy firing at Israeli civilians is to contain the fire rather than move in and kill the attacker. It was conceived by former Defense Minister Amir Peretz (2006–2007), also known for his immortal picture taken when he was looking through a binoculars with capped lenses. Like the French Maginot Line, the Iron Dome represents a failed strategy of defense. The German Army bypassed the Maginot Line, now the Hamas has learned that the Iron Dome can be tricked into financial exhaustion.
But we are digressing. In his interview, Giora Eiland advocated the unthinkable: recognizing Hamas as the legitimate government of the Gaza Strip.
“What Hamas wants in the near future is to ensure its control of Gaza,” he reasoned. “When we examine this against the Israeli interest, there is no clear conflict of interest here. Israel must recognize that Gaza is a state and that all the aid should go directly to the Hamas government there, and not in an underhanded way.”
Then he declared: “The money is buried in the ground over there precisely because we do not proceed with this process [of recognizing Hamas].”
Two things, then: 1. Hamas wants in the near future to control all of Gaza; and, 2. The reason Hamas is digging terror tunnels is because Israel would not let it collect all the aid money directly.
There are contrary explanations, of course: 1. Hamas will follow its completed control over Gaza with an eventual holy war to take back the rest of the land of Israel, as per its charter; and, 2. Hamas is digging terror tunnels in order to capture Israeli hostages and force Israel to release Arab murderers from prison.
Then the man who was in charge of Israel’s defense policy from 2004 to 2006 stated for the record: “It’s always better to be in conflict with a state entity, because it bears responsibility and pressure can be applied to it.”
Of course, nowadays, the IDF, based on the provisions of the Oslo accords, conducts nightly arrests of dozens of suspected and wanted terrorists in Judea and Samaria to maintain security in Israel. With the accords gone, replaced by a Palestinian State – every such overnight arrest would result in a diplomatic crisis. Every chase after Arab terrorists would have to stop at the border. Likewise with a recognized Hamas State in Gaza, every retaliatory attack of the IAF would result in a UN Security Council condemnation, with or without an American veto, depending on the administration.
It is time for Israel’s government (the most rightwing ever, we’re told) to recognize that its Iron Dome approach to Hamas violence is wrong, that its acceptance of a Hamas de facto rule in Gaza is wrong, just as its acceptance de jure of a Palestinian Authority is wrong – and do something about it.
And if the Netanyahu needs ideas on how to go about it – call NSA John Bolton. He’ll know what to do.