Will the Rocket Threat to Israel from Jenin Match the Threat from Gaza?

(Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security) Dr. Uzi Rubin - Recent Palestinian attacks against Israelis have included the attempted launching of rockets from the Jenin area toward Israeli communities. At present, the Jenin rockets are simple and can be quickly produced in any moderately equipped machine shop. The rocket fuselage is made of commercial-grade steel pipes that are widely available. The propellant can be produced from foodstuffs and fertilizers. The plans for simple launchers and instructions on "how to cook" simple propellants are available online. The evolution of rocket fire from Gaza may be seen in three periods. From 2001 to mid-2005 there were about 50 rockets per year. During this period, parts of Gaza were ruled by the Palestinian Authority, and the IDF had freedom of action in the Israeli-controlled regions. In the second stage between mid-2005 and mid-2007, the rate of fire doubled to about 200 rockets per year. This occurred between Israel's unilateral pullback from Gaza and the seizure of power there by the Hamas. The third period, commencing in mid-2007 and lasting to this day, overlaps with the absolute Hamas control of Gaza (in conjunction with Islamic Jihad). As soon as Hamas evicted the PA from Gaza, the rate of rocket fire made quantum leaps to hundreds and then thousands of rockets per year. Presently, the terrorist organizations' capabilities in the Jenin district are equivalent to Gaza's capabilities in the early 2000s. It stands to reason that the terrorist groups in Jenin will continue to manufacture and launch their local version of rockets in growing numbers, quality, and range - which eventually will cause damage and casualties in nearby Israeli communities. It also stands to reason that there will be attempts to smuggle completed Grad-equivalent rockets and launchers - shipped from Lebanon or Iran through Jordan to Jenin. Regarding concealed launching pits, storage sites, and tunnels now used in Gaza, the geological differences between Samaria and Gaza should be noted. Gaza sits on sandy soil, which facilitates underground digging. In contrast, Jenin and the other Samaria cities are on hard limestone rock. That makes underground digging more difficult but not impossible. In Gaza, the transition from home-produced rockets to imported military-grade rockets happened when the IDF had vacated the area. In contrast, the IDF maintains a significant presence in Samaria. It stands to reason that once smuggled military-grade rockets become known, the IDF will act energetically to block the smuggling routes and shut down depots and launching pits inside the Palestinian cities. In Gaza, the IDF had no boots on the ground to block the establishment of the Gaza Military Industries. The writer was founding director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, which managed the Arrow program.

2023-09-07 00:00:00

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