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Weapons: The Gift From Gaza
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December 31, 2008: In Gaza, Hamas is trying to escalate its rocket assault on Israel. In the last few days, Hamas has brought out its longer range rockets and, for the first time, fired a rocket into the town of Ashdod, 30 kilometers from Gaza. Several rockets have landed in Ashkelon, which is 20 kilometers from Gaza. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in August, 2005 (as a peace gesture), Palestinian terrorists have fired over 6,300 rockets and mortar shells into Israel. The vast majority have been aimed at the town of Sderot, which is only three kilometers north of Gaza. But now, with rockets able to reach out to 30 kilometers, over 600,000 Israelis are in danger.

The homemade "Kassam" (or "Quassam", or "Quds") rockets are built in Gaza workshops. Building these rockets has become a major industry there, where the local economy has largely collapsed because of terrorist attacks on Israel, resulting in Israel and Egypt shutting down access to the area in an effort to halt the attacks. Most Gazans are living off food, and other aid provided by the United States and Europe, as well as cash contributions from Iran and oil rich Arab states. Islamic radical groups like Hamas saw the Israeli withdrawal in 2005 as a sign of Israeli weakness and defeat, and an example of how terrorism can win.

Kassams began landing in Israel during late 2001, shortly after the Hamas Palestinian terrorist organization perfected the design. This was the Kassam I, and it was 60mm in diameter, about 31 inches long, weighed twelve pounds and carried a one pound explosive charge. Its range is about three kilometers. Like all the Kassams, you aimed it and hoped for the best. In early 2002, Hamas began firing these at Jewish settlements in Gaza as well. By 2003, larger versions were built. There was the Kassam II, which weighed 70 pounds, is 150mm in diameter and six feet long. It has a range of eight kilometers, and a 11-15 pound warhead. It wasn't until June, 2004, that one of these Kassam rockets actually killed an Israeli. By then, about 200 Kassams had been fired into southern Israel.

Later came the Kassam III, which is 6.7 feet long, 170mm in diameter, has a range of about 12 kilometers, and a warhead of 22-44 pounds. This one weighs about 200 pounds. There are many variations in these designs, and larger rockets have been used as well, including the Kassam IV, with a range of 15 kilometers, and a BM-21 clone, called the Nasser 4, with a range of up to 20 kilometers. Costing only $400 to build, materials for the Nasser 4 rockets are smuggled in via the many tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

By the end of 2005, over 400 Kassams had been fired at Israeli targets. In the next six months, another 600 rockets were fired. About a third of them were the short range Kassam Is, fired at Israeli settlements in Gaza. The rest were larger Kassams fired into  widely scattered settlements in southern Israel.

About a thousand Kassams were fired into Israel during 2006. This doubled, to two thousand in 2007, and during the first four months of 2008, another 2,000 were fired. In the two months before the ceasefire last June, about 400 a month were fired, in addition to about a hundred mortar shells. Since the ceasefire went into effect, about 30-40 Kassams or mortar shells a month were fired into Israel. When the ceasefire expired on December 19th, the volume of fire more than tripled.

When Israel began attacking Hamas and other terrorist targets on December 27th, the Palestinians increased their rocket attacks. But after peaking at about a hundred fired on the 28th, the number launched has declined with each day. Israeli UAVs, aircraft and jets are constantly over Gaza, seeking out rocket workshops, storage areas and launching sites. Since the bombing began, nearly 400 Palestinians have died, as well as four Israelis.

To date, over 7,000 Kassams have been fired, plus a few dozen factory made rockets and over a thousand mortar shells. For every 30-40 Kassams or mortar shells fired, an Israeli is killed or wounded. Until this year, for every 2-3 Kassams or mortar shells fired, a Palestinian is killed or wounded by Israeli military operations against the firing sites and workshops that build the rockets. In the last year, the Israelis have been more precise in their retaliation, trying to limit Palestinian civilian casualties. For the Palestinians, causing Israeli civilian casualties is their main goal.

Hamas has concluded that suicide bombings, and similar terrorist attacks inside Israel are too difficult because of effective Israeli counter-terror attacks. But the rockets work, sort of. While they don't cause many Israeli casualties, Israeli counter-measures kill more Palestinians, which are useful for diplomatic and propaganda reasons. Dead women and children are particularly useful, which is why the rockets are often launched from residential neighborhoods, and young teenagers are encouraged to get involved with the rocket launching operations.

The Israelis believe that, if left alone, Hamas will have rockets with a range of 40 kilometers, within two years, if not already. The 20 and 40 kilometer rockets will only be used for a decisive battle, one Hamas feels it has a chance of winning. Israel has stopped waiting for that.

The current Israeli attacks, and likely ground invasion of Gaza, is intended to destroy Hamas, and other rocket firing terrorist groups, before more Israelis get killed, or even fired on, in large numbers. Hamas has hopes that someday soon they will attacking in conjunction with Hezbollah (firing rockets into northern Israel), and Iran firing rockets into Tel Aviv. Or something like that. So far, most Hamas war plans appear to have been created more for their propaganda impact, than for their practicality. So far, the war the Palestinians began in late 2000, has left nearly 6,000 people dead, over 80 percent of them Palestinians. A ground invasion of Gaza would leave 500-1,000 Palestinians dead, and would eliminate most of the rocket stockpile. But it would not eliminate the rocket threat. Only the Palestinians can do that, and so far, they seeming unwilling to do so.

Israel knows that Hamas has been stockpiling an arsenal of rockets in Gaza. Israeli intelligence officials believe Hamas currently has, in Gaza, several hundred factory made BM-21 rockets, each with a range of 20-40 kilometers. They also have some shorter range (six kilometers) B-12 rockets. These are not smuggled in much, because the locally made Kassam II has about the same range. However, the B-12 is more reliable (more reliable trajectory and fuze, so more are likely to land where aimed and explode.)

The B-12 is a 107mm, 42 pound, 107mm, 33 inch long, Russian designed rocket that is very popular with terrorists. This rocket has a range of about six kilometers and three pounds of explosives in its warhead. Normally fired, from a launcher, in salvoes of dozens at a time, when used individually, it is more accurate the closer it is to the target. This 107mm design has been copied by many nations, and is very popular with guerillas and terrorists because of its small size and portability.

The 122mm BM-21s weigh 150 pounds and are nine feet long. These have 45 pound warheads, but not much better accuracy than the 107mm model. However, these larger rockets have a maximum range of 20 kilometers. Again, because they are unguided, they are only effective if fired in salvos, or at large targets (like cities, or large military bases or industrial complexes.)

Meanwhile, up north in Lebanon, Hezbollah have stockpiled over 40,000 factory made rockets, mainly BM-21s brought in from Iran via Syria. This is three times as many rockets as they had in the Summer of 2006, when over 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel, killing about fifty people, most of them civilians. Over a thousand Lebanese died from Israeli counterattacks. Hezbollah and Hamas plan to launch a joint rocket attack on Israel eventually. The Israelis have been planning more effective countermeasures, which they have not been discussing openly.

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HERALD1357    SYSOPS query.   12/31/2008 9:25:35 AM
Is a review of the above post for malicious content and hate propaganda in order?
 
Herald

 
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SYSOP1    Demise of Qazi   12/31/2008 10:20:54 AM
Seems the current conflict is bringing out the loonies and antiSemites. Second bozo in two days bounced from the boards.
Maybe tomorrow will bring us a hat-trick.
 
Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood SysOps Collective.
 
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RationalThought       12/31/2008 3:56:15 PM
I honestly don't see how the world can view this as anything but Israel defending itself. They gave Hamas many months of warnings to quick firing shots at them yet Hamas still continued to do it. What did they expect? That Israel would say "Oh, that's okay Hamas. We like it when you continually try to kill our citizens. Here, let us open up the boarder like you want so that you can send more suicide bombers. We just love it when they go boom!!". Will someone please try and talk some sense in to these people!! Hamas complains when their citizens get killed yet they make no effort at all in only targeting Israel's military targets. In fact, they only target civilians. Come on world, wake up to this fact as well!
 
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LB    It's called an act of war   12/31/2008 10:57:39 PM
When one launches rocket and mortar attacks on the country next door this is defined as an act of war.  Frankly if the attacks do not stop then it seems clear the next step Israel will take is to enter and bulldoze flat the northernmost portion of Gaza where the homemade rockets are launched from. 
 
Not for nothing but when looks at pictures on CNN of Israeli armored formations prepared to enter Gaza one notices heavy tanks, heavy infantry carriers (MBT chassis), heavy armored combat engineer vehicles, and large armored bulldozers.  Urban combat requires heavy armor.  Not having a real replacement for the M1 and M2 team is going to get US Army soldiers killed one day.  Every other story from Iraq these years is seemingly about the requirement for more armor on everything and yet the US Army in it's wisdom believes it can get away with less armor on it's vehicles (FCS) and having half the armor in it's brigades by halving the number of manuever battalions.  It begs the question if the leadership of the US Army is rational?
 
 

 
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newjarheadean    And the beat goes on...   1/1/2009 4:34:16 PM
AHOY, is the blockade of sea, air, and land into Gaza an act of war? Is an air strike the only option to stop the rocket attacks.? If Gaza is part of Israel why can't Israel help the civilians who are WIA. And if Israel (with all its modern tech) dose not win this thing it should prove to everyone that there is really no use in having a traditional military. G-day!

NO ONE WINS, THIS IS FORGOTTEN. WARS ARE EASY TO START, EXPENSIVE TO CONTINUE, DIFFICULT TO STOP. OFTEN BEGIN WHEN SOMEONE FEELS VICTORY IS ASSURED. THE FIGHT CONTINUES LARGELY BECAUSE OF NATIONAL AND PERSONAL PRIDE. WARS END WHEN ONE OR BOTH SIDES ARE DEVASTATED, DEMORALIZED OR RARELY SUDDENLY ENLIGHTEN BY THE ABSURDITY OF IT ALL.

                                                                                                                                            James Dunnigan

 
 
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Chuang Shyue Chou    Beersheba hit   1/2/2009 1:10:14 AM
My friend lives in Beersheba in the Negev desert. The city is about 40-46 km away. It was hit by at least three rockets. One in a kindergarten, another in a high school. Fortunately, they evacuated the schools a day before.


Anyway, he told me that shelters were of little use as there was no time giving that the warning is less than a minute before impact.

He also thinks that the rockets are Grad BM-21-1, an improved type that can hit over 40 km.

 
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Chuang Shyue Chou    Beersheba hit   1/2/2009 1:11:21 AM
typo: 'given that' instead of 'giving that' 
 
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RockyMTNClimber    No equivalent comparison   1/2/2009 2:57:13 PM
AHOY, is the blockade of sea, air, and land into Gaza an act of war? Is an air strike the only option to stop the rocket attacks.? If Gaza is part of Israel why can't Israel help the civilians who are WIA. And if Israel (with all its modern tech) dose not win this thing it should prove to everyone that there is really no use in having a traditional military. G-day! <newjarheadean
 
......Had Palestinians adhered to the six-month Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, there would have been no cause for Israeli aggression, proportionate or otherwise.  After years of having missiles and Katyusha rockets launched over the Gaza territory into Israeli civilian populations, Israel has finally had enough.  Her patience has run its course.  Her appeasement, tolerance and hope for peace has gotten her nowhere.  The shock and awe campaign she launched this past weekend is an attempt to end the continuation of death and havoc wreaked on Israeli civilians.  The campaign targets only terrorists and Hamas infrastructure, trying as much as possible to avoid hitting civilians.  Israel even warns Palestinians to evacuate before aiming at weapons shelters or Hamas facilities.  It is a difficult situation considering the fact that Hamas has buried its police and training camps amongst populated civilian areas.
In the meantime, Hamas remains steadfast in its position on Israel:  she doesn't have the right to exist. 

Palestinian schools have deleted Israel off all maps and indoctrinate Palestinian youth with hatred of Jews.  The courses omit entirely any mention of the holocaust which prompted the UN vote for making Israel a state.  Instead, they inform the children that Israel and the Jews are occupiers and evildoers.  They even air anti-Israel cartoons, feeding their toddlers diets of loathing and animosity. 

Repeatedly over the years, Palestinians have intentionally and randomly killed Israeli civilians while the world turned a blind eye.  Even as this article was being written, Hamas TV was portraying the death of innocent Jews as cause for celebration.  While continuing to launch multitudes of rockets and mortar shells across the Gaza border, Hamas is vowing victory to its people.  In reality, it is only guaranteeing that Palestinians will suffer more severe consequences.

If the Palestinians were smart, they would rally against their leadership to stop the provocations.  The much complained of fence could be torn down and the gates opened so Palestinians could work, travel, and live in freedom, peace and prosperity.  But this would require unlikely self-reflection of their "religious" ideology and their political policies.  It would necessitate that they focus their energy on helping themselves rather than using their resources toward the destruction and devastation of others.  

But presumably, Palestinians prefer to remain victims so that they can continue to scapegoat Israel and the Jews for their plight. ht***tp://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/the_cost_of_provocation.html
 
 
This one is squarely the responsibility of the Palestinian people. Their decisions will determine whether they ever live in peace or if they will just be beaten slowly to a pulp.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
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newjarheadean    Holly land lol   1/4/2009 11:57:45 AM
AHOY, sorry Rocky, but IMO specking in terms of Israel as she or her is just to much. I also don't believe the Jews or any other race are god's chosen people. IMO one big deference I see with Gaza compared to Lebanon is there is much less division between the people in Gaza. I thing Israel is only making things worse. And like I've sad loosing (not stopping the war) they are proving the uselessness (to sound like Bush making up a word) of having a traditional military at all. I would like to see the Palestinians all move to the west bank and put in a lock system south of Dead sea, widen river flowing south to give access to gulf of Aqaba. Could combine locks with mineral industrial needs too. G-day!  
 
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RockyMTNClimber    Rotten tooth that needs to be drilled...   1/4/2009 1:16:07 PM

AHOY, sorry Rocky, but IMO specking in terms of Israel as she or her is just to much. I also don't believe the Jews or any other race are god's chosen people. IMO one big deference I see with Gaza compared to Lebanon is there is much less division between the people in Gaza. I thing Israel is only making things worse. And like I've sad loosing (not stopping the war) they are proving the uselessness (to sound like Bush making up a word) of having a traditional military at all. I would like to see the Palestinians all move to the west bank and put in a lock system south of Dead sea, widen river flowing south to give access to gulf of Aqaba. Could combine locks with mineral industrial needs too. G-day!  



Thank you for your plucky response. You don't like Israel for reasons that are your own. I and others here understand that
the Gaza is a rotten tooth that needs to have it's poison drilled out. Until Hamas/Hezbollah are dead and gone there will be no peace in the "territories" no matter what Israel does.
 
 
Israel has a right of self defense and I am glad she has opted to use that right to prevent further rocket attacks upon her. We all hope that this is accomplished with as little collateral damage as possible, but the people of Gaza made their bed long ago with Hamas and in the end they will live with or die with Hamas. That is their call, not mine, or Israel's. 
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
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