In 1873, the science fiction writer Jules Verne imagined a world where a person could circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. He understood that technology had developed to a point where the assumed correlation between distance and time was no longer part of the here and now.
In 2014, the civil war in Israel-Palestine entered its 78th year. The Arab riots that began in 1936 that sought an end to Jewish immigration, neighbors and nation, entered a new stage. The Arabs’ means of attempting to enforce their xenophobic demand moved from rocks to rockets; from stabbings to missiles.
The Palestinians have launched crude rockets against Israeli towns since 2006. While the Qassam rockets were not very accurate and did not have a particularly long range, Arab terrorists rejoiced as they fired thousands of these rockets at Israeli cities and towns.
In 2006, 2007 and 2008 Arabs from Gaza fired 1777, 2807 and 3716 rockets into Israel, killing 34 people and injuring over 1500. In retaliation, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 to stop the rocket fire. “Relative” calm was restored with “only” 858 and 365 rockets launched against Israel in 2009 and 2010, respectively. But the attacks ramped up again in the following years with 680 and 2273 rockets against Israel in 2011 and 2012. In response, in November 2012, Israel needed to launch Operation Pillar of Defense to protect its citizens. In 2013, rocket fired dropped 95%.
Most of the rockets were the rudimentary Gazan-made Qassam rockets. In recent years, both Syria and Iran have supplied Hamas, which runs Gaza, more sophisticated and longer-range weaponry. The Iranian-made Fajr-5 has a range up to 47 miles and the recent Gazan arrival of the Syria-made M-302s have a range of 93 miles. In just the past few days, the Palestinians have used these new rockets to fire as far north as Haifa, a city of 260,000 about 80 miles north of the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s action to stop the latest rocket fire, Operation Protective Edge, uses advanced technology to both destroy the Palestinians’ ability to fire missiles, and to intercept and destroy incoming missiles with its Iron Dome defense system. In the skies, technology’s reach and technology’s shield clash, while on the ground, Israel considers whether to deploy troops to root out the threat.
While technology has enabled Arab terrorists to claw further into the clouds, it has done nothing to help them modify their positions. Their hatred, xenophobia and goals remain fixed.
As a practical matter, the advance of technology and time without progress towards peace leads to a few conclusion for Israelis:
- Control of Borders is Essential. The Gaza blockade has minimized the influx of advanced weaponry. Israel must similarly always enforce border control over Judea & Samaria. This new Palestinian weaponry in both J&S and Gaza could cover the entire country.
- Intelligence in addition to technology. While technology is essential to protect citizens, intelligence enables it to be used effectively with reduced collateral damage.
- Hamas must be dismantled. No terrorist entity may be permitted to exist, let alone participate in elections and govern. Destructive ideology must be destroyed.
Today, just as in 1873, technology can be used to arrive at places once considered out-of-reach, and one can get there faster than ever imagined. However, it cannot always modify primitive human emotions and reach places within our psyches. Until a people can conquer primeval aggression, it cannot be allowed to control advanced technologies.