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May 9, 2019 9:33 am

The First Thing to Learn From the 700 Rockets Fired at Israel

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avatar by Moshe Phillips


The scene where a 21-year-old man was killed by shrapnel when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit an apartment building in the city of Ashdod on May 5, 2019. Photo: Flash90

Terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired approximately 700 rockets at Israel in a coordinated May offensive. Tragically, four Israelis were killed. But how is that possible? One would think that 700 terrorist rockets would have caused much heavier Israeli losses.

When Israel fires missiles at enemy targets, they strike with deadly, pinpoint accuracy. For example, they have been known to hit a single terrorist in a vehicle, or one apartment in the middle of a dense neighborhood. Yet when Hamas and Islamic Jihad fire rockets into Israel, the vast majority of them land in empty fields, parking lots, or other uninhabited sites.

The difference is not that Israeli soldiers have better aim. The difference is that the Israeli army has the latest equipment and the most sophisticated computer systems necessary to ensure that their missiles hit the desired targets. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are actually trying to cause as much damage and death as possible — but their rockets still don’t make accurate landings. Why? Because the Palestinians don’t have that technology. And the reason they don’t is partly because of the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

And yet, the United Nations has been leading the charge against the blockade for years.

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In 2011, for example, a panel of five supposed “independent human rights experts” for the UN declared that the blockade is a “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” In 2012, the UN’s annual report on Gaza labeled the blockade “collective punishment.” In 2013, the UN’s “humanitarian coordinator” for Gaza, James Rawley, claimed that “Gaza is becoming uninhabitable” because of the blockade.

Various pro-BDS and other anti-Israel groups have also made ending the blockade their number one target.

Amnesty International has charged that the blockade is “suffocating Gaza,” and Human Rights Watch has complained that the blockade is having “an awful effect.” It is also worth recalling that back in 2010, Joe Biden told Bloomberg TV that, “We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them to get building materials” and other forbidden items into Gaza.

Biden was completely oblivious to the fact that many construction materials are dual-use items: in addition to their primary purpose, they can also be used by terrorists to build weapons or otherwise conduct military operations. Concrete for the foundation of a building can also be used to make an arms smuggling tunnel.

To its credit, Israel resisted all of this international pressure, and maintained the blockade. As a result, terrorists in Gaza are without targeting computers, and their rockets are not as deadly as they could be.

The UN and the rest of these critics of Israel owe the Jewish state an apology. We shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for that, though. Instead, we must remember an important lesson of the Gaza offensives and the 700 rockets: the blockade works, and must remain in place, no matter what.

Moshe Phillips is the national director of Herut North America’s US division. Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education, and is dedicated to the ideals of pre-Word War II Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Herut’s website is

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