Islamic Jihad and Hamas Are Getting Better at Making Rockets

Sept. 21 2022

During its brief conflict with Israel last month, Palestinian Islamic Jihad managed to fire an average of 588 rockets and mortars per day. Put into the context of previous confrontations, that is a dramatic escalation over the average of 400 projectiles fired by terrorist groups in Gaza during the 2021 war, and 220 during the brief 2019 conflict. Uzi Rubin delves into these and related data to argue that the minimal casualties and physical damage Israel suffered during these exchanges are the product of the IDF’s ever-improving defensive capabilities, rather than any failings on the part of its enemies. He explains the implications:

Since even a failed launch causes alarms to be sounded in Israel that send the population to the bomb shelters and disrupt routine life, it is perhaps more cost effective for the armed Palestinian militias in Gaza to invest more effort in increasing the quantity of their rockets rather than spend the costly and time-consuming effort to make them more reliable.

With everything else being equal, producing and firing rockets is cheaper than shooting them down. Contrary to Clausewitz’s dictum that defense is easier than offense, in the case of missile warfare, and at the current state of military technology, the opposite is true: rocket and missile offense is easier than rocket and missile defense. . . . Instead of investing in fancy decoys, [Palestinian groups] invest in larger stockpiles of missile and rocket and in ever-growing fleets of survivable launchers. The idea is to drown the defenses under a veritable deluge of rocket and missiles, synchronized with an onslaught of cruise missiles and UAVs.

[T]he evidence is that all of Israel’s efforts to block the smuggling of machinery, raw materials, and components to the Gaza production lines are not too effective and are unable to stem the Gaza rocket buildup. It stands to reason that this buildup will eventually peak since there must be some inherent limitations of manpower, production capacity, and launching sites in Gaza. By the same token, the growth of Israel’s defensive capabilities is also sure to hit some ceiling eventually, due to several limiting factors, most importantly that of finances.

In other words, Israel and Gaza are locked in a technological arms race and, Rubin concludes, “there is no assurance that Israel will ultimately prevail.”

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank