Avi Nofech
"democracy and free trade are the only way to peace"

Why is Hamas still in power in Gaza?

Israelis may be used to rounds of fighting every few years, but Israelis do not notice how Hamas becomes better armed each time.

Hamas started out with Qassam rockets that could hit Sderot. Then they advanced to building Grad rockets with range of about 40 km that could hit Beer Sheva.

But of special interest to Israel is the larger rocket that Hamas calls Khaibar M-302. It is based on Chinese artillery rocket named WS-1. Khaibar were already fired by Hamas into Afula in 2014.

These are its specifications according to Army Technology:

“The WS-1 rocket reaches a maximum speed of Mach 4.2 and the maximum flight altitude is 30km, giving a minimum firing range of 40km and a maximum firing range of 100km with probability deviation of 1%. The WS-1 rocket, length 4.73m and diameter 0.302m, weighs 520kg with a 150kg warhead.”

The Hamas version is based on impoved variant of WS-1 and has somewhat longer range. The important fact for Israel is that it can hit Tel Aviv. But even more important is what it will do when it hits.

The 150 kg warhead is large enough to demolish a whole apartment building. Even if it does not cause the building to collapse completely, it will cause enough damage to blow away a part of it and make it uninhabitable.

The deviation of 1% at the range of 60 km means the rocket will hit on the average some 600 meters away from the aiming point. This is precise enough for it to land in Tel Aviv, because the city is large.

The density of buildings in Tel Aviv is so high that roughly one of two of rockets will hit its target.

So what it means for Tel Aviv is this: if several hundred Khaibar rockets will be launched at Tel Aviv, the effect would be similar to the Blitz of London in 1940. There will be massive destruction and loss of life in the thousands.

Hamas factories keep producing these and other rockets. The question is, what is Israel waiting for?

Maybe, maybe, the concern is that all-out war to remove Hamas from power in Gaza would necessarily also mean war with Hezbollah. Israel will then have to fight on two fronts at once and destruction to Haifa caused by Hezbollah may be even worse than destruction to Tel Aviv caused by Hamas.

So what does Israel do when there is an already large and growing threat?

This is exactly the situation Britain and France were facing in 1939. The forces of Nazi Germany were growing faster than British and French forces combined.

The British and the French could have chickened out and not declare war on Germany on September 3, two days after Germany invaded Poland. It would have been shameful, but maybe it would have been safer?

But the British and the French understood it would not have been safer, it would have been worse. War was inevitable and then, better sooner than later.

Israel might want a decisive war with Hamas before the damage they can cause to Israel becomes deadly for the country as a whole.

About the Author
I was a lecturer in mathematics in Israel and in Canada and now teach part time at Grant MacEwan University and work on a project in mathematical physics. As for hobbies, it is skiing. I can do the black diamond and my ambition is to do the double black diamond.
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