On May 21, at 2:20 AM, a ceasefire deal between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas came into force. Al-Aqsa TV reported that celebrations began the same night in the Gaza Strip to mark “Hamas’ Victory” in the battle. The Palestinian group called it the Sword of Jerusalem. Hundreds of people took to the streets of Ramallah with national flags of Palestine, honoring the end of shelling, festive fireworks were launched into the sky instead of rockets.
The conflict between the parties broke out on May 10, and mutual rocket attacks between Israel and Hamas continued for 11 days According to the IDF press release, since the beginning of the Gaza Strip, 1,500 targets have been hit. According to the Ministry of Health of the State of Palestine, during the confrontation with Israel in the Gaza Strip, more than 220 people were killed, and more than 1,500 were injured. At the same time, if Israeli representatives claim that the strikes were carried out exclusively on Hamas targets, then in Gaza, they claim that all the dead are civilians of the sector.
According to the details published by the American media on this conflict, it becomes clear that Washington was well aware of its preparation by Israel, which ordered the delivery of a batch of precision-guided munition from the United States in advance. On this significant deal for such munition supplies, the US Congress was notified in advance on May 5. A few days before Israel launched an armed attack on the Gaza Strip, the Biden administration approved some $735 million worth of arms to Tel Aviv, most of them precision-guided munitions and components for converting conventional bombs into smart bombs. All this confirms that Israel’s plans to escalate the situation in the Middle East were agreed with the United States, which first condemned its aggressive actions in the foreign arena and then expressed support for the bombing of the Gaza Strip.
After the Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system began to lose ground on the third day of the armed conflict, the United States, as it turned out, secretly sent a batch of Patriot air and missile defense systems to Israel to support its Middle Eastern ally. And this happened even though President Joseph Biden publicly stated that his country would not interfere in the armed conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. According to Soha, the American C-17 carrier landed at the airport in Tel Aviv with a large volume of cargo. The Mehr News Agency reported that the carrier secretly transported reinforcements for the Jewish army. It took off from Ramstein airbasein Rhineland-Palatinate late in the evening on May 13 and arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on May 14. Although US officials do not comment on this information, it is worth noting that after the C-17 carrier flight, the effectiveness of the Israeli air defense, along with the number of rockets launched by Hamas at Israel have increased.
A renewed tension of the conflict between Israel and Palestine has shown a regular exchange of rocket attacks, Hamas militants who assembled the rockets from improvised materials in artisanal conditions managed to cause image and combat damage to Israel’s missile defense system and, in particular, to the IDF’s well-publicized Iron Dome missile defense system. Although in Israel itself, official sources no longer speak of its 100% effectiveness, in reality, it is clear that a significant amount of ammunition launched by the Palestinians breaks through its defenses.
It became apparent that the Iron Dome has its bottlenecks because there are a limited number of missiles in the launchers, it takes time to recharge them, and the anti-aircraft missiles do not have a very long range, etc. The Palestinians fought these bottlenecks by launching massive volleys at specific targets, thereby trying to “overload” the Iron Dome batteries covering particular areas, and they sometimes succeeded. That is, with enough mass launches, the Iron Dome cannot repel them. By the way, this is confirmed by the recent example when cruise missiles were fired at Israel from the territory of Syria, and the air defense systems could not intercept them.
It is also worth mentioning that according to various estimates, the cost of producing one rocket for the Iron Dome can reach up to 100,000 dollars. While even the largest unguided rockets of the Palestinians only cost a few hundred dollars. Hence, repelling the attack of “blanks” with high-tech missiles is a costly pleasure if we talk about money. Costly, both for Israel and for the United States, which finances their “combat power,” or rather American taxpayers, who participate with their own funds in such military adventures of Netanyahu and his sponsors from the current American military and political elite.
Yet, one must not forget that more technologically advanced and long-range missiles may appear in the hands of the Palestinians tomorrow and cause much more trouble. Trouble, especially given the growing number of sympathizers, gained day by day due to the provocative policies of Israel and the United States. And such assistance can be made available to them tomorrow by certain private “assistants,” at least from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or even Egypt. After all, for example, “responsible Palestinians” are often in Cairo, where they receive funding. And in Egypt, despite the formal position of its leadership on maintaining good relations with Israel, there are many people with anti-Israeli views who have been actively building military infrastructure in Sinai over the past few years under the guise of war with Sinai Islamists.
Therefore, in the current conditions, Israel and the international community need to resolve the Palestinian problem to avoid repeating a new armed conflict in this region, which would become much more painful for all parties.
Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.