'The more effective the rocket terror war will be, the less proportional the response would be'
While Sderot sustained rocket attacks for eight years until the military and political conditions “were ripe” for a retaliatory strike in Gaza, Tel Aviv will not sustain such attacks for eight days; not even for eight hours.
In order to put an immediate end to missile attacks on central Israel – regardless of where they originated: Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza – we will see massive retribution that will make Operation Cast Lead appear like a tiny scratch in the Middle East’s violent history.
In order to find a defensive solution for Gaza-region residents, Israeli officials wracked their brains for about six years until “the need arouse” and the budget was found for the Iron Dome project, which may prove itself in the next decade. Maybe. Meanwhile, central Israel is already protected by the best anti-missile systems in the world.
The Juniper Cobra drill that recently got underway expresses not only America’s diplomatic and military commitment to defend Israel from long-range missiles; it also constitutes an impressive display of cutting edge technologies only possessed by a few states.
This includes the American THAAD missiles, which became operation only two years ago and are meant to intercept ballistic missiles at a 200-kilometer range, beyond the atmosphere, as well as exotic long-range radar systems and satellite-based sensors.
Yet despite all of the above, the quantity of missiles in the enemy’s arsenal at this time is so great that missiles will be landing in central Israel; this will certainly be the case if we see a surprise attack like we experienced in 1973. There will be attempts to hit strategic sites and crowded population centers. The Syrian missiles and the advanced rockets held by Hezbollah are much more accurate than Hamas’ rockets, not to mention Iran’s capabilities.
No time to waste
It is doubtful whether all our strategic sites, both military and civilian, are properly reinforced to ensure that our critical systems will not be paralyzed. There is also no solution for civilians in case of direct hits. Secure rooms are meant to protect against shrapnel, not against missiles with huge warheads. Just like what happened around Gaza, residents in central Israel will feel as though they’re taking part in a bingo contest, of an immensely more murderous scope.
It is no coincidence that Hamas is making every effort to produce or smuggle rockets with a 70-kilometer range. Bringing such missiles into the Gaza Strip is also one of Iran’s greatest challenges in the region.
Israel’s enemies are counting on Goldstone: They will fire missiles at Tel Aviv, and the world will stop Israel from punishing them for deterrence purposes. Yet they’re wrong.
Israel would not be able to afford to wait for its ground forces to successfully operate in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, or any other site in order to curb the fire. Time is a critical element, and a successful ground operation is a matter of days or weeks, which means more casualties and more critical hits sustained by the home front. The hundreds of rockets that will penetrate through the Israeli-American defense systems will require Israel to respond immediately.
And here the formula is cruel and simple: The more effective the rocket terror war will be, the less “proportional” the response would be.
Under such circumstances, we will see a massive retaliatory blow, from the air and from the ground, targeting various infrastructures and sites and being painful enough to prompt the enemy to hold its fire. If the world expects Israel to only hit military targets and chase every rocket or launching site, it expects Israel to commit suicide.
The more painful the blow to the enemy’s critical sites, the greater the chance it will be convinced to hold the fire sooner.