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Military Technology Changes the Rules

Improved military technology is changing the way Israel wages war against its enemies on the ground and in the air.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 2/25/2008, 3:08 PM

The Israeli Air Force has acquired upgraded weapons systems that have improved its ability to strike terrorists with minimal or no collateral damage.

"We try to hit only terrorists," explained a senior IAF commander in an interview with the Associated Press news agency. "There is a trend of very dramatic improvement in the ratio of hitting the terrorists and not hitting the uninvolved. We are very proud of it," he said.

Even the left-wing group B'Tzelem agreed. The group's spokesperson Sarit Michaeli said, "The Air Force is becoming more efficient." In the past, Palestinian Authority Arabs in Gaza have sometimes been wounded or killed by missile strikes on terrorists' homes and vehicles – a situation brought about by the terrorists' practice of using civilians as human shields.

The international community and many home-grown left wing groups have criticized Israel for mistakes in which non-combatant civilians are accidentally injured or killed.

A recent strike in which a terrorist mastermind in Gaza was assassinated without harming nearby civilians was cited by AP as one example of the IAF's use of the new technology. Improved missiles are also now able to hit targets inside buildings without causing major damage. 

The ability to strike terrorists while they are setting up an attack has also zipped ahead. "Pre-planning can [last] between hours and days," said the IAF commander, "but the reaction time can be very fast."

Lightning responses can also include the ability to call off an attack at the last minute if need be, change the direction of a missile once it's been fired, and hit a terrorist cell even before it has managed to launch the rocket it's working on.

Other New Military Technology on the Horizon
New technology that allows remote detection of explosives and poisonous gases will be unveiled this week at a conference to be held at the College of Ariel, located in the Samarian city with the same name.

Conference organizers pointed out that the increasing severity of terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens has prompted Israeli scientists to develop devices that can detect explosives without endangering IDF personnel.

Military technology experts and researchers from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), the Ministry of Defense, Hebrew University, and Tel Aviv University are expected to attend.