Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mythbusting: The Goal of the Rockets

We don't hear as much about the Gaza rockets nowadays as we used to, probably because they have strongly reduced in number since the end of Cast Lead. Since the Huffington Posters like to rehash the same arguments endlessly, though, we still often find the rockets as the subjects of many discussions.

Now I have already covered how these so-called "harmless rockets" aren't really harmless at all.  In fact, one of them killed a Palestinian in Gaza just yesterday. If some HPers claim that the rockets are harmless, these are useful counters to their lack of knowledge. They are in fact very dangerous, but Israel is well prepared and therefore casualties are reduced.

At this point the HPers will shift their argument and say, "Okay, the rockets are in fact dangerous but they have only killed twenty some-odd people! How doe that justify a large military operation like Cast Lead and the hundreds of Palestinian casualties that will inevitably follow from that decision?"

Part of this argument lies in selection quotation of facts. It's true that there have been (relatively) few deaths from rocket attack, but as I said before that is because Israel supplies it's people with bomb shelters, not because the rockets aren't dangerous. The statistics of injuries, though, are in the hundreds. A HPer will no doubt sneeringly dismiss this point, but it is outrageous for anyone to claim that someone who has an arm or leg blown off from a rocket attack somehow "doesn't count" because he or she is still breathing. This doesn't count the psychological casualties as well: 90% of the residents of Sderot have had a rocket land on their street or neighboring one. Can you imagine living like this:

Which of course takes me back to the point of this blog post: That the goal of the rockets are not repeat not to kill Israeli civilians. There are more effective ways of doing that, and Hamas has tried them. 8,000 rockets for 20 dead Israelis is not a high return for their time. But the rockets do far more than that: They render daily life for those Israelis who live within range of them impossible. No one can even take on the semblance of living normally when they have to run for cover multiple times a day, no matter where they are. To use a metaphor, it would be like having a drive by shooting every day, but since you and your family are fast enough to hit the ground, no one is ever killed. Would anyone really claim that you are not in danger?

And that is why Hamas fires the rockets. And that is why Israel needed to take military measures to stop them. The HPers might argue that they went too far. That is an argument we might have for another time. But the point here is that the rockets are indeed a threat: Not to Israeli lives so much, but to their livelihoods as well. And Israel has the right to defend itself against such an attack, no matter how much its detractors might try to play it down.


  1. What I've always wondered is what, exactly, is the strategic point of all those rocket attacks? There must be a strategy behind them, no?

    Dershowitz claims that it's "the CNN strategy." The idea being to provoke Israel into a response and then scream bloody murder to the world community about those vicious and cruel Jews.

    If so, it works brilliantly.


  2. And Israel should reduce Gaza to rubble the next time it is attacked.