Steven Teplitsky

‘Today, the Palestinians fire rockets instead of throwing stones’

About 20 years ago, I visited the Ayalon Institute with a tour group where we viewed the Haganah’s bullet factory which operated from1945 – 1948 under a laundry facility of  Kibbutz Hill in Rechovot. I recall speaking out to the tour guide that we should not be so proud of this memorial because Hamas is probably doing the exact same thing as we gloat. He scoffed at this.

Hamas’s competency on the battlefield lies in its ability to produce and procure
a stockpile of improvised rockets, mortars, explosives, anti-tank guided missiles and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles cheaply, quickly and under its neighbor’s radar with a focus on quantity, not quality.

According to Miguel Miranda, founder of the Southeast Asian monitoring service,
Arms Show Tracker….

“In the first category, Hamas has a surplus of small arms and light weapons thanks to its own logistical efforts and, of course, Iran. All those cheap Norinco Type 56-1 automatic rifles are the same seized on boats sailing to Yemen.”
“There’s also an abundance of RPG-7s and their derivatives, such as the Chinese Type 69, thanks to Iran. Hamas propaganda has also shown they manufacture tandem warheads for their RPG-7s. These munitions are based on a Russian design and are meant to defeat contemporary tank armor.”

Hamas’ arsenal is comprised of short-range rockets named after the Hamas armed wing, the Qassams. These boast a range of roughly 6.2 miles. In terms of medium-range weapons, Hamas has rockets based on Russian and Iranian designs that can travel up to 25 miles – as far as Tel Aviv, as well as an assortment of Russian Grad projectiles with a twelve-mile trajectory.

The longest-range rockets can extend further, potentially landing inside Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion Airport. These include the M-75, a local version of the Iranian 333 mm long-range multiple launch rocket system, the homemade R-160 that can supposedly carry a 130-pound warhead, and the J-80 – developed in 2014 with at least a 50-mile range. Some have landed as far as 75 miles from their launch point.

Hamas has also amassed scores of mortars and Russian-made, laser-guided anti-tank missiles termed the Kornet. This is known in the West under the NATO designation AT-14 Spriggan.

“A real cause for concern for the IDF is Hamas’ supply of anti-tank missiles.”
“Oddly, they (Hamas) have shown some North Korean’ Bolsae’ anti-tank missiles in the past. But we know they also have the Russian-made Kornet missiles, which are ubiquitous in the region. The availability of ATGMs in Gaza and nearby cities in the strip is a real frustration for Israeli ground forces,” Miguel reported.

In recent years, Hamas has also debuted a “Shahab” suicide drone, essentially a replica of the Iranian-made Abadil-2. Also referred to as a “loitering munition,” this weapons system can linger near a target and then detonate on impact.

Hamas operatives also retain a collection of guns, including modified Soviet-styled AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, long-range sniper rifles and heavy machine guns. Specifically, the outfit has the Iranian-made rifles, in particular the Sayyad, a wide-reaching .50 caliber firearm. Some reports also suggest that the militants have duplicates of Chinese machine guns.

Such a stockpile isn’t generated in a vacuum.

“We have locally manufactured rockets, but the long-range ones came from abroad, originating from Iran, Syria and other sources through Egypt,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told Al Jazeera’s Arabic service last year.

The machinery needed to make rockets and mortars, or even the whole weapon broken into parts for assembly, is smuggled into Gaza through the Egyptian border, often originating in Sudan and Libya, utilizing the extensive maze of deep, sophisticated tunnels extending from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza. This is in spite of the “claims” that Egypt has cracked down on black market operations,– prompting Hamas to cultivate its own weapons and explosive-making production facilities out of crude materials under the instruction of the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah commanders.

“Instead of giving them a fish or teaching them to catch a fish, we taught our allies and friends how to make a hook, and they are now in possession of missile capabilities and technologies,” General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the leader of the IRGC Aerospace Force, said in early 2021.
“Today, the Palestinians fire rockets instead of throwing stones.”

Hamas is believed to have become more adept at home-grown manufacturing – even repurposing rummaged plumbing pipes and parts gleaned from dud Israeli armaments.

“Hamas does not have anything near the military capacity that Israel has. In force-on-force direct combat, Israeli forces would quickly destroy an opposing Hamas force because of its superior firepower, but Hamas is not planning to fight that kind of war. This will be a war of guerilla tactics by Hamas and possibly a prolonged insurgency in Gaza. They do not need massive firepower to accomplish that.” claimed Karl Kaltenthaler, Director of the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies and a Political Science Professor at the University of Akron.

From Kaltenthaler’s perspective, the most critical factors in Hamas’s weapons cache buildup are the massive support they get from Iran and the smuggling of arms that Hamas procures from elsewhere.

“Without Iran’s help, Hamas would be a much weaker force than it is today,” he cautioned.

According to defense technologist and co-author of Hunting the Caliphate, co-authored by Wes J. Bryant, Hamas primarily utilizes older Chinese and Russian- model assault rifles, machine guns, and grenades in addition to their own rocket manufacturing capabilities used specifically to bombard Israel’s storied Iron Dome.

“The majority of fighters carry some variant of AK-47. All these weapons are the same as the weapons U.S. forces are using in all of our counterterrorism operations in the Middle East, and the supply channels are much the same. Most often adversary state-sponsored, Iran in this case,” he continued. “As well, there is just such a proliferation of Soviet-era weapons across the Middle East that there are a multitude of ways in which Hamas and parallel forces end up being supplied.”


KORNET ATGM                                  $10,000
AK-47                                                     $148
AK-47 7.62 mm bullets                        $531/1000
W85 .50 cal Machine Gun                   $5000
Qassam Rocket                                     $800
R-160 Rocket                                        $2500
M-75 Rocket                                         $3000
UAV (Drones)                                       $6500
Abadil-2 Suicide Drone                      $20,000


F35                                $109,000,000

Apache Helicopter       $52,000,000

F16                                 $36,000,000

Merkava Tank              $3,500,000

UZI                                 $1100.

Iron Dome Missile        $50,000

Much of the above-mentioned information is not new. The purpose is to show what can be achieved with a relatively small budget utilizing tens of thousands of willing fighters. In spite of Israel’s massive military compared to Hamas, the defeat of Hamas has not as yet been achieved.

Chairman Mao boasted that he could defeat his enemies just by the sheer size of the Chinese Peoples Army and their willingness to die in battle.

As I have previously written, the weltanshauung, or world view of the Islamists is so very different from the world view of western democratic society.

Islamists are fighting for a return to the Caliphate.
Islamists do not believe in a democratic, or democratically elected society.

A democratic society has to answer to the people in a limited time frame due to election cycles. An undemocratic society answers to no one.

A democratic society is time-bound. Islamic society is in it for the “long game”. They have as much time as it takes to achieve their goal of a caliphate ruling the people of the world.

Palestinian Nationalism is relatively new and it was borne as a reaction to the Zionist movement. In the world view of Islam a Palestinian State is only a means to an end to establish a caliphate.

On a recent visit to Rhodes, I pointed out to our group the history of the conquest of Rhodes by the Crusaders and then by the Ottomans. The crusaders built and fortified Rhodes with a double layer of moats. The Ottomans tried to defeat Rhodes in 1480 but were unsuccessful. In 1520, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, a weak point in the double walls was discovered. The Ottomans dug a tunnel under the walls and defeated the Christians in 1522.

In spite of its size, the IDF knows how to adapt, witnessed by the change in tactics over the last few weeks.

The rest of the world’s leaders are too myopic to see the larger picture.

About the Author
Graduated from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies in 1978 before completion of PhD (ABD) in "Relationship of US to Pre 1948 Yishuv". Active in Toronto Jewish community while pursuing business career. Made Aliyah in 2020. Last person to be admitted into Israel before Covid shutdown. Favorite movie quotes are "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" and "You can't handle the truth!" and "Whaddya think, I'm dumb or something?"
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