The usual tactic of lining up human shields around their murder weapons isn’t working for Hamas this time, so the gang decided to get all high-tech and launch a drone at Israel. In fact, there might have been two of them, and Hamas says they have more. From CBS News:
Israel’s military said it downed a drone along its southern coastline on Monday, the first time it encountered such a weapon since its campaign against the Gaza Strip militants began last week.
The drone came from Gaza and was shot down near the southern city of Ashdod, the military said. It did not say what the drone was carrying.
Hamas tweeted Monday that it had “deployed a number of pilotless drones into Israel, adding that, “Our drones carried out specific reconnaissance missions” over the War Ministry in Tel Aviv.
Israeli TV was reporting there could have been at least a second drone fired toward the Jewish state.
Since the latest bout of fighting began last Tuesday, militants have fired nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel, causing some injuries and damage to property, but no fatalities among Israelis. By contrast, say Palestinian officials, 172 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel’s air attacks.
But the use of unmanned aircraft with an offensive capacity could potentially inflict significant casualties – something the rockets from Gaza have failed to do, largely because of the success of the military’s ‘Iron Dome’ air defense system in shooting them down.
Or maybe the gangsters are using really crappy drones, and Iron Dome (or, in this case, a Patriot missile battery) will shoot them down, too. I’ve seen other media reports describe the downed drone as “unarmed,” but that’s a bit different than the Israeli Defense Force refusing to “say what the drone was carrying,” as CBS puts it. I’m not sure what Hamas would gain from unarmed UAVs. It’s not like they have a lot of precision weapons that need targeting. They’re more into randomly shooting at civilian population centers and hoping they kill somebody. (Thus far in the current offensive, the best they’ve been able to do is seriously injure a teenage boy with rocket shrapnel.)
Actually, Hamas has been doing more damage to Palestinians in Gaza than Israelis. Their bargain-basement rockets have a habit of falling right back into Palestinian territory. That happened on Sunday, blowing up a power line and wiping out electricity to 70,000 people in Gaza. Israel National News says the Israeli government isn’t rushing to restore service, and might be thinking about pulling the plug on even more areas of Gaza… because, you see, the Israelis supply them with power, and at this point it’s basically a charity operation, because the Palestinians apparently prioritize buying weapons over paying their utility bills:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked the IEC not to risk the lives of its employees in trying to restore power to the affected sector in Gaza, an operation that could take hours.
As Operation Protective Edge enters its seventh day, many Israelis are demanding that the country take more aggressive action against Hamas in order to put a halt to the seemingly endless missile attacks from Gaza. One suggestion that has come up numerous times ??? including from MKs and Ministers like Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon ??? is cutting off electricity to Gaza,which Israel is still supplying. The Hamas missile, which hit one of the high tension wires that move power from Israel to Gaza, apparently made that a moot point, at least partially.
The Palestinian Authority currently owes the Israel Electric Company NIS 1.5 billion ($525 million) in unpaid bills for electricity. An examination of that debt by business daily Globes shows that the relative amount owed by Gaza was NIS 220 million ($62 million).
Last month, the IEC filed a petition with the High Court demanding to be allowed to shut off electricity to the Palestinian Authority until the debt was paid ??? or to allow the IEC to seize customs and aid payments collected on behalf of the PA to pay off its debt. That case is still pending.
Meanwhile, the IEC is still supplying electricity to Gaza, under orders from the government. The power is delivered to Gaza via 12 high-tension wires that are capable of delivering up to 120 megawatts of electricity. Experts say this is not enough for all the residents of Gaza, and in recent weeks residents have said that they have been getting electricity only 12 hours a day.
It looks like the “Paliwood” propaganda machine is back up and running, as Hamas supporters have been caught posting fake images of Israeli destruction on social media, including images poached from Syria and Iraq. The overseas arms of the terrorist operation have gotten busy as well, as Fox News reports “as pro-Palestinian protesters tried to force their way into a Paris synagogue with bats and chairs, then fought with security officers who blocked their way, according to police and a witness,” following a “sizable protest” outside.
Hamas might be using drones as a psychological weapon, or a way to demonstrate they’re still in the fight and dangerous, or maybe they’re just throwing everything they’ve got into Israeli airspace in an effort to exhaust the IDF’s supply of anti-missile munitions. The first time I wrote about Iron Dome years ago, I remember defense analysts pointing out that its virtue was the ability to target the most dangerous inbound missile trajectories and intercept them; its drawback was that Iron Dome is a lot more expensive to operate than the cheap, inaccurate weapons the Palestinian terrorists employ. If this battle drags on long enough, it could turn into a numbers game, so the Israelis have strong incentives to accomplish their game-changing goals quickly. It should be noted that Hamas does have some more advanced weapons, provided by Iran. They might be sitting on some of their best missiles until they think the Iron Dome system is running out of juice.
The other big psychological weapon employed by Hamas is using civilians as meat shields to protect their weapons. The Israelis have been warning civilians to move away from Hamas munitions dumps and rocket-launch sites – which are frequently located in schools, apartment buildings, hospitals, and mosques – before the IDF strikes them. These warnings are sometimes sent not just with leaflet drops, but with text messages to Palestinian cell phones. Hamas actually responded with a public order for civilians to ignore the Israeli warnings, stay where they are, and die in airstrikes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to put it all into a single line that his office has been asking people around the world to repeat on social media networks like Twitter: “We are using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.” (A rather long satellite delay accounts for the delay between Fox host Brit Hume’s questions, and Netanyahu’s replies.)
Netanyahu also bluntly dismissed Iran’s claims of not wanting a nuclear weapon as “a joke,” and when you remember that Hamas’ best weapons have “Made in Iran” stamped on them, it’s not a very funny joke. Perhaps one reason Israel is so determined to make this encounter with Hamas more decisive than previous pruning operations is that they want to degrade the terrorists’ long-range strike capabilities before Iran gives them something more exciting to put inside the missiles they’re launching at Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Netanyahu also detected a certain jokey quality to the efforts to disarm Syria, and doesn’t look forward to WMD from that ugly regime raining down on Israel, either.
CNN reports a former Israeli ambassador has floated the idea of a cease-fire deal in which Hamas would allow American inspectors to dismantle its long-range weapons:
Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said the escalation should be an opportunity to arrange a broader peace negotiation. In addition, it could present a chance to get American inspectors to remove long-range missiles from Gaza, he told CNN’s “New Day.”
He also addressed the disparity in Palestinians and Israeli deaths.
“It’s going to cause a public diplomacy challenge for Israel, but better to have public diplomacy challenge than to have hundreds of casualties, including fatalities,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone with Netanyahu, a senior State Department official said. Kerry “condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, and stressed Israel’s right to defend itself,” the official said.
Kerry also discussed U.S. concerns about escalating tensions and reiterated that the U.S. is prepared to help facilitate a cease-fire, the official said.
The Palestine Liberation Organization, meanwhile, announced that it will ask the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, at its annual meeting in August, to designate Israel as an “apartheid state.”
And Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the United Nations “to officially put the State of Palestine under the UN international protection system,” the PLO said.
The dividends of Secretary of State John Kerry shooting off his big stupid mouth about Israel and “apartheid” just keep rolling in.
There is no “state of Palestine,” which is, of course, the long-term point of all this, and it’s the reason Hamas won’t make any cease-fire deals that involve the loss of its capability to terrorize Israeli civilians, with weapons that have no other conceivable purpose whatsoever. Terrorism is always a long, brutal contest of wills, and barbarians know their civilized enemies have more to lose. Israel is trying to manage a modern, technologically advanced, multi-ethnic nation, and that’s hard to do when a sizable portion of the population has to dive into bomb shelters on a regular basis.
The Palestinian terror gangs, on the other hand, have very little to lose from anything short of a full-spectrum butt-kicking at the hands of the Israeli military. The terrorists get to pretend they have “political wings” and “militant wings” that are entirely separate from each other, creating a fog of confusion in which no one in a position of nominal authority is held accountable for anything. They don’t hesitate to keep their captive civilian population mired in poverty, marinated in hatred, and even squatting over their munitions dumps. That’s an asymmetrical situation civilized nations like Israel should not be expected to tolerate. Eventually, after much bloodshed, it leads to increasingly loud demands to just give the barbarians what they want, and hope the violence abates. In this case, we can rest assured it won’t stop until Israel is gone. The only way to halt that engine of genocide is to make sure it never gets out of first gear.
Update: The Israeli Defense Force has embraced the power of infographics:
And this one sums up what it’s like to live under the constant threat of random rocket attacks, which the previous infograpic shows is a threat that now covers a large portion of Israel:
Update: There was also a big anti-Israel protest in Frankfurt over the weekend, at which the German police had the bright idea to hand their megaphones over to a protester who claimed he would be able to calm things down. Instead, he grabbed the police car microphone and started shouting “Child murderer Israel” and “Allahu Akbar!”
“We as police had come up spontaneously with this unusual method and he abused it. We didn’t expect that,” said a police spokeswoman. Well, maybe you should have expected it. Especially given the optics of a German police car being used to broadcast anti-Israel propaganda.