The UN High Commissioner for Civil Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, has been on a roll accusing Israel of war crimes.
In her latest volley on Thursday, she criticized Israel and the United States for failing to provide Hamas with the Iron Dome system in order to protect the civilian population of Gaza.
Among the UN’s long bill of particulars against the beleaguered Jewish state comes the almost unbelievable accusation that Israel’s refusal to share its Iron Dome ballistic missile defense shield with the “governing authority” of Gaza – i.e. Hamas, the terror group created to pursue the extermination of the Jewish state and now waging a terrorist war against it – constitutes a war crime against the civilians of Gaza.
The UN chairwoman criticized the U.S. for helping fund Israel’s Iron Dome system which has saved countless Israeli and Palestinian lives. “No such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling,” she said.
And maybe Israel should get right on that – if Israel starts lobbing rockets or missiles with ballistic trajectories at Gaza.
Iron Dome is designed for intercepting such projectiles. Israel doesn’t use them against Gaza. Iron Dome would be ineffective against the ground-launched projectiles Israel does use, once she has a ground operation underway: tank shells and independent short-range artillery. Iron Dome doesn’t intercept projectiles that fly so low or over such restricted areas.
Israel avoids using longer-range battlefield rockets of the kind Hamas uses, precisely because they don’t achieve a useful combat effect for the amount of damage they are likely to do to non-combatants. There are different combat applications that require different weapons, and in the Gaza fight, rockets of the kind Iron Dome was built to intercept are exactly what Israel has no use for.
Such rockets are good for a conventional battlefield where one side wants to pound the other with a barrage of fire, from a longer range than other forms of fire can achieve (e.g., mortars). They are a standard weapon designed for the Cold War-era battlefield. But they aren’t accurate enough and can’t deliver enough punch to achieve any effect Israel needs in a fight in Gaza, where there is no conventional battlefield.
Above the level of tactical support to IDF ground operations (and the occasional instance of counterfire against a Hamas firing position right at the security boundary between Israel and Gaza) – for which mortars and tank shells are appropriate – Israel’s need is for interdiction-type targeting. This means being sure of destroying important targets like weapons caches, embedded rocket launchers, and operating bases. And that means using air-delivered precision ordnance, which packs enough punch for the job but minimizes useless collateral damage.
Israel doesn’t target the Gazan population with less accurate rockets that pack only enough punch to hurt civilians, but not enough to achieve a useful interdiction effect. That’s what Hamas does against the Israeli population. If Israel ever starts lobbing such projectiles at Gaza, then perhaps she should get right on the task of sharing Iron Dome with Hamas.
Ms. Pillay clearly hasn’t spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express recently.