UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Friday, August 23 2013:
*The utter absurdity of the current U.S. focus on Israeli concessions for “peace” with the Palestinians cannot be overstated. Israel is getting rocketed from Lebanon, mortared from Syria, rocketed from the Sinai, and infiltrated from Gaza. Civilians are being gassed to death in Damascus and shot to death in Cairo, and all Barack Obama and John Kerry have on their brains is Israel? Unbelievable and pathetic.
*Interesting population data from Judea and Samaria (aka “the West Bank”) yesterday:
–in 1997, the birthrate per Israeli mother in the area was 4.69 while the birthrate per Palestinian mother was 4.76
–in 2011, the birthrate per Israeli mother in the area was 5.07 while the birthrate per Palestinian mother was 3.06
–though no firm data yet exists for 2012, indications are that the gap has continued to widen
(Data source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics and Gplanet)
The missile barrage from Lebanon which began at 4:30 pm yesterday was not unexpected. As had been announced by the IDF, Iron Dome batteries have been moved to strategic positions in the north over the last few months. The area around Haifa with its nuclear power plant and port as well as important air force bases have been put under the Iron Dome umbrella.
The only problem is that the Iron Dome did not work very well yesterday, and this morning finds the IDF questioning why not?
Firing from the Al-Kalila region just south of Tyre, the terrorists only fired four 122mm missiles. One of the missiles apparently hit on the Lebanese side of the border, one missile was intercepted by the Iron Dome, and the other two missiles (rather amazingly) scored direct hits on two separate Israeli residential areas in the western Galilee. One hit a Holocaust Survivors’ Center in Moshav Shavei Zion, and the other hit directly in the middle of a road in Kibbutz Gezer HaZiv. Luckily no one was physically injured, but four people were treated for shock by Magen David Adom (MADA) emergency services.
Your humble servant and the people of northern Israel are left wondering today what would have happened if there had been a massive launch of missiles out of Lebanon. The only conclusion is that there would have been massive destruction. As we in the South learned in November of last year, volleys of as few as six missiles at a time usually enabled at least one terrorist missile to get through the Iron Dome defense.
In short, the Iron Dome is a defensive weapon of limited success at best. Israel’s Iron Dome batteries are not able to stop a large scale attack (or in the case of yesterday even a small one). And what would happen now, if Hamas started launching missile volleys against the lightly defended South where there are now only two batteries? I think you can answer that question yourself.
Aside from the problems with the Iron Dome yesterday, there were also major problems with the “red siren” incoming rocket warning system. In both areas in which rockets struck, the alarms did not sound until after the explosions had occurred. Was this another case as reported on israelstreet last week in which the IDF ruled out sounding the alarm? Or was the launch detection radar pointed at Syria instead of Lebanon? Or did the radar simply not pick up the launches?
Finally, we have the question of who exactly launched the rockets? At the moment the only organization claiming responsibility is (see if you can remember this) the Ziad Jarrah Battalion of the Abdullah Azzam Martyr Brigades which is an Islamist Sunni organization connected to Global Jihad.
Your humble servant’s opinion, however, is that nothing happens in southern Lebanon without the approval of Hezbollah–and Hezbollah has every reason to try to suck Israel into a war. Losing support in Lebanon because of the heavy losses of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and the appearance of suicide bombers in Beirut, Hezbollah badly needs a distraction–and, as always, Israel would divert Lebanese attention to the south. As for the Israeli government this morning, it is simply holding the Lebanese government responsible.