10 years ago
Contrary to the approach of his predecessors, Defense Minister Amir Peretz believes it is of the “utmost strategic importance” for Israel to “come up with an effective solution as soon as possible” to the threat of Katyusha rockets and missiles. Peretz thus appears to be shaping a new security doctrine before the defense establishment has talked about the matter in depth.
Peretz plans to convene a discussion on the matter in the coming days.
Even without the minister’s determination in this regard, senior defense establishment officials agree on one immediate conclusion from the recent conflict in Lebanon: Israel must press ahead quickly with initiatives to protect the home front against high-trajectory weapons – missiles of various kinds, including Katyusha and Qassam rockets.
But even now, the concept has its detractors:
“As a researcher, I believe that the entire notion of developing means to intercept Katyushas or Qassams is superfluous,” says Yiftah Shapir of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
According to Shapir, a former Israel Air Force intelligence officer, “A Katyusha is in fact an artillery shell, and no one talks about the need to develop means to intercept shells. … With the existing technology, it is difficult to deal with tens of thousands of Katyushas or Qassams or shells. There’s no end to it, and it is not economically worthwhile.”
But it seems to me that the smartest approach is a defense-in-depth concept of security. Assuming that the money is available — and this is a big assumption — Israel should invest in and deploy a THEL defense system, in addition to working towards the disarming and relocation of Hezbollah. If the resources are available, it should not be a matter of either-or. It should be both-and.