Hamas and Hizbullah terrorists have amassed an arsenal of 50,000 rockets aimed at Israel, United Press International (UPI) has reported. Israel still has no defense against the threat, and the government’s highly touted Iron Dome short-range missile defense system is far from being in operation and may not even be practical.
“Even if Iron Dome works perfectly, it is never going to have the firepower in interceptors to credibly intercept most, let alone all,” of the rockets, according to the UPI report.
Hizbullah has amassed far more rockets than it possessed before the Second Lebanon War in 2006, despite Israel’s agreeing to a ceasefire on the condition that United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL) would prevent arms smuggling into Lebanon.
In the south, Hamas continues to smuggle weapons into Gaza despite a similar ceasefire ageement, supposedly conditioned on a cessation of arms smuggling, that the Olmert administration announced when concluding Operation Cast Lead in mid-January.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised two years ago that the Iron Dome short-range missile defense system, along with other systems, would protect Israel from 90 percent of missile attacks, although mortar shells would continue to explode in Israel without interception.
Barak announced in October 2007 that the Iron Dome was near completion and would be in place by 2010. He also has stated that its deployment is a precondition for handing over part of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority.
Last year, officials admitted that the Iron Dome system would not be effective against Kassam rockets fired from less than two miles, meaning that it had no solution for tens of thousands of residents in the Gaza Belt communities, including Sderot.
State Comptroller and Ombudsman Micha Lindenstrauss’s recent report of his investigation of the timetable of the Iron Dome system “documented endless delays, indecision, go-it-alone chaotic planning and sheer bureaucratic incompetence,” in the words of UPI reporter Martin Sieff.