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  • 1. A Balance of Fear: Asymmetric Threats and Tit-for-Tat Strategies in GazaAuthor(s): Margret JohannsenReviewed work(s):Source: Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Autumn 2011), pp. 45-56Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Institute for Palestine StudiesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2011.XLI.1.45 .Accessed: 16/03/2012 15:31Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. University of California Press and Institute for Palestine Studies are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Palestine Studies.http://www.jstor.org
  • 2. A Balance of Fear: Asymmetric Threats and Tit-for-Tat Strategies in Gaza Margret Johannsen This article looks at the use of ultra-short-range rockets by Palestinian militant factions in the Gaza Strip as part of the overall dynamic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as a tool employed within internal Palestinian rivalries. Against the background of the gross military asymmetry between the parties to the conflict, it assesses the strategic utility of the rockets, including their psychological value as an “equal- izer” to Israeli attacks.The article scrutinizes Israel’s options to counter the rocket threat and identifies steps toward containing violence in Gaza.While bearing in mind that several Palestinian militant groups are involved in the production, acquisition, and firing of rockets, this article focuses on Hamas because, due to its leadership role in the Gaza Strip, a solution for the rocket issue will not be found without factoring in and providing a role for the Islamic organization. A fter the 1948 Palestine war and the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the area under Israeli control, the Palestinian libera- tion struggle grew up largely in the territories of Israel’s Arab neighbors. Starting from the June 1967 war, the focus of the struggle became the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which also became the theater of resistance operations, both violent and nonviolent, under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). With the Oslo accords signed by Israel and the PLO in the 1990s, these territories became the locus of the Palestinian state that had become the PLO’s prin- cipal goal. Failure to resolve the conflict in 2000 led to a violent uprising during which Palestinian militancy escalated to suicide bombings targeting both Israeli soldiers and civilians.1 It was during this uprising that Pales- tinian rocket fire, dominated by Hamas and other Islamist factions that had emerged to challenge PLO dominance of the Palestinian movement, became an important part of Palestinian armed resistance and a significant factor in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Margret Johannsen is a senior research fellow at the Institut für Friedenforschung und Sicherheitspolitik (IFSH–Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy), an indepen- dent research institution at the University of Hamburg, Germany, where she coedits the German annual Peace Report. Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. XLI, No. 1 (Autumn 2011), pp. 45–56, ISSN: 0377-919X; electronic ISSN: 1533-8614. © 2011 by the Institute for Palestine Studies. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s Rights and Permissions website, at http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintInfo.asp. DOI: jps.2011.XLI.1.45.JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 45 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 3. 46 Journal of Palestine Studies Ultra-Short-Range Rockets: Evolution and Rationale Especially since the dismantlement of the Israeli military infrastructure and settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005, unguided rockets and mortar bombs fired into southern Israel from the Strip have become the armed resistance’s weapon of choice.2 Most of these weapons have a range of up to twelve kilometers. The Qassam is the best known of the home-grown rocket varieties. Produced by Hamas, it is named, like the movement’s armed branch, after Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the Islamist militant whose kill- ing by the British in 1935 helped spark the 1936–39 Palestinian revolt against the Mandate. Such labeling serves to legitimate the possession and employ- ment of these weapons. Designations of rockets used by Palestinian militant groups other than Hamas include “Aqsa,” “Arafat,” “Kafah,” “Nasser,” “Quds,” “Saria,” and “Sumoud,” but the generic name remains “Qassam.” The Qassams, manufactured locally, are inaccurate and fall mostly into uninhabited areas without causing harm. A minority of rockets with an extended range, such as the Iranian-produced Katyusha-type Grad rockets and the Chinese-produced Weishi-type WS-1E rockets, are imported. Year of introduction, technical parameters, origin, and inventory of Palestinian rockets* Qassam 1 Qassam 2 Qassam 3 Grad WS-1E Introduced in Gaza 2001 2002 2005 2008 2008 Length ~80 cm ~180 cm ~200 cm 283 cm 294 cm Diameter ~60 mm ~150 mm ~170 mm 122 mm 122 mm Weight ~5.5 kg ~32 kg ~90 kg 72 kg 74 kg Warhead 0.5 kg 5–9 kg 10–20 kg 18 kg 18–22 kg Maximum range 3 km 8–9.5 km 12 km 18–20 km 34–45 km Origin Self-made Self-made Self-made Imported Imported Inventory Hundreds Hundreds Hundreds ≤100 ≤100 The number of casualties resulting from rocket attacks is low. From 2001 to 2008, some eight thousand rockets and mortar bombs were launched at Israeli territory.3 The town of Sederot, located three kilometers from the border, has borne the brunt of the attacks, which during that period killed nineteen civilians and two soldiers.4 During the Gaza war (dubbed Operation Cast Lead by the Israeli military) of 2008–09, more than nine hundred rockets landed in Israeli territory, killing three civilians and one soldier. Some reached as far as forty kilometers beyond the border, landing close to Beersheba on the northern edge of the Negev desert, the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of just under 200,000. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli *All figures given here are rough estimates, based on existing data and the author’s informed judgment. See also GlobalSecurity.org, HAMAS Rockets, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ world/para/hamas-qassam.htm.JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 46 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 4. Asymmetric Tit-for-Tat Strategies in Gaza 47 Air Force employed F-16 fighter jets and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, reporting a 95 percent success rate with zero misses in the opening attack.5 Given Israel’s overwhelming military power, the rockets have virtually no value as war-fighting weapons. However, they have eroded the sense of secu- rity of a quarter of a million residents of the western Negev. This effect, more than the actual number of people killed or injured or the material damage, constitutes the psychological value of the rockets. The rockets are perceived as offsetting Israel’s sophisticated arms, despite the fact that these can reach every corner of the occupied Palestinian territories and deny Palestinians any sense of security in every sphere Gazans, who know that of life. This could explain why Gazans, who know that they will inevitably suffer they will inevitably suffer from Israeli retaliation for the from Israeli retaliation rockets fired, are nevertheless more in favor of military for the rockets fired, are operations against Israeli targets than their compatriots nevertheless more in favor in the West Bank.6 of military operations At the time of writing, short-range rockets fired against Israeli targets by Palestinians at Israeli territory have, with one than their compatriots in exception,7 been launched only from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank. and most of Israel, including the densely populated areas, remains out of their range. But if the Palestinian armed groups con- tinue to improve the range, accuracy, and deadliness of these weapons, larger portions of Israel’s population could be at risk. In the two years following the 2008–09 Gaza war, there was a significant reduction in the extent and severity of rocket attacks carried out by Palestinian militant organizations in the Gaza Strip. Thus, by 31 December 2010, only 261 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, killing one civilian.8 After the devastations of the war, Hamas apparently shunned the risk of another major military confrontation, seeking instead to consolidate its rule in Gaza. Weapons smuggling, however, continued unabated, indicating that the prevail- ing calm could turn out to be no more than a hiatus that could end any time, all the more so in that it was not clear if Hamas would be able or willing to fully exercise the monopoly of force it claims as the Gaza Strip’s de facto gov- ernment. The military escalation in August 2011 following a guerilla operation conducted by militants from the Gaza Strip, who had taken advantage of the undefended borders in the Sinai to create havoc in the southern Negev, was evidence that the mutual but unilateral ceasefires declared by Israel and Hamas on 18 January 2009 had been wasted, in the sense that they had not been used as an opportunity to negotiate the terms of a more sustainable arrangement. Israeli Measures against the Rocket Threat Fortification, Early Warning, and Missile Defense Israeli defensive measures against rocket attacks include fortifying public buildings and private homes in towns in proximity to the Gaza Strip, earlyJPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 47 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 5. 48 Journal of Palestine Studies warning systems, and antimissile defense countermeasures. The “Color Red” system provides warning to civilians of rocket launches. Because of the short distances, the time to seek shelter is very short: fifteen seconds for launches from a distance of up to ten kilometers, one minute for launches from a distance of forty kilometers.9 Systems designed to destroy rockets in flight are under development. In 2007, the Israeli government selected the missile defense system “Iron Dome,” designed to detect incoming rockets of a range of four to seventy kilometers and fire missiles to destroy them in midair. In March 2011, Iron Dome was declared operational and Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized its deployment. Two batteries were deployed to protect Beersheba and Ashqelon. On 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome system in the area of Ashqelon successfully intercepted a Grad rocket fired at the city.10 During the military clashes sparked by the cross-border attacks in southern Israel on 18 August 2011, almost 160 rocket launches were reported, of which an unknown number were intercepted; about 120 fell in Israeli territory.11 It is doubtful whether these systems will eliminate the threat to Israel posed by the Qassam rockets and comparable weapons. In particular, due to time constraints, Iron Dome may not be effective against ultra-short-range rockets and therefore unable to protect Sederot and other locations near the border.12 In addition to the technological challenges, Iron Dome also faces potential financial constraints. Because of the gross disparity in the manufac- turing costs of an interceptor compared to a Qassam rocket, the launching of large numbers of Qassams could end up costing more than Israel is willing to pay.13 Following Iron Dome’s deployment, Palestinian militant groups have accordingly tried to adapt their rocket-launch tactics to the changed situation, first, by aiming more frequently at areas beyond the Iron Dome protection area, and, second, by firing multiple rocket volleys almost simultaneously to overwhelm the defense system by sheer numbers. Amid the military flare-up in August 2011, one rocket indeed penetrated the defense system and killed one person in Beersheba.14 Boycott and Blockade A year after the first fatal rocket attack in 2004, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, removing all settlements and military infrastructure while main- taining control over the Gaza borders. Together with the construction of the separation wall and the checkpoint system in the West Bank, the evacuation of the Strip was part of Israel’s unilateral strategy of disengaging from the Palestinians. According to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had pre- sented his “Disengagement Plan” in December 2003, its purpose was “to grant [Israeli citizens] maximum security and minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians.”15 The withdrawal was completed in autumn 2005. About six months later, however, after Hamas won the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections and in March formed the new Palestinian Authority (PA) government, Israel imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip; the fact that it simultaneously intensified settlement expansion in the West Bank,JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 48 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 6. Asymmetric Tit-for-Tat Strategies in Gaza 49 including East Jerusalem, gave credence to the allegations that the real pur- pose of evacuating Gaza was to fend off criticism of the ongoing colonization of Palestinian territory in violation of the road map. In its election campaign, Hamas had not campaigned for the destruction of Israel. Instead, taking account of the people’s priorities, it had presented a program of good governance. Hamas could not live up to its promises, however. In the wake of the diplomatic boycott and economic sanctions orchestrated by Israel and the West, the political contest between Hamas and Fatah escalated to fierce interfactional fighting in summer 2007, resulting in the Ramallah-decreed dissolution of the Hamas-led PA government and the political division between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah (PA)-controlled West Bank under PA president Mahmud Abbas. Responding to the split, Israel tightened the blockade of Gaza while the West Bank became the sole beneficiary of American and European financial and institution-building support. However, the U.S.-designed “West Bank First” strategy, as this approach was dubbed, did not yield the desired politi- cal results. As expected, the economic strangulation of the Gaza Strip cre- ated unprecedented poverty levels,16 but contrary to Israeli, Western, and PA expectations the population did not turn against Hamas. Moreover, the strat- egy to isolate and undermine Hamas while strengthening the (West Bank) PA led to Hamas countertactics aimed at eroding the PA’s political standing and credibility, already undermined by its sole reliance on negotiations with Israel even as settlements continued to expand. Rockets, claimed as legitimate weapons of resistance against the continu- ing occupation of Palestinian territory and the collective punishment of the Gazan population, formed a significant part of Hamas’s countermoves. If any Israeli government had ever seriously considered ending the occupation, the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip could only strengthen the resolve not to redeploy in (let alone to withdraw from) the West Bank. Casting doubt on the PA’s ability to deal with belligerent factions, Israel refused to reduce its presence in the West Bank. As a result, the PA, unable to demonstrate that negotiations were better suited to deliver on the Palestinians’ national aspira- tions and that armed resistance was obsolete, was further undermined. Military Operations From the 2005 Gaza disengagement onward, Israel, with the declared intention of putting an end to the firing of rockets, repeatedly launched mili- tary operations against the Gaza Strip that ranged from short-term incursions of small forces to full-fledged war operations involving air, naval, and ground forces. The most devastating of these was Operation Cast Lead in 2008–09, the official goal of which, according to the Israeli military, was to deliver a lethal blow to Hamas; targeting both Hamas’s paramilitary infrastructure and its political leadership would increase the deterrent strength of Israel’s mili- tary and thereby improve security in southern Israel in the long term.17 About 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the densely populated territory during theJPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 49 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 7. 50 Journal of Palestine Studies war, including large numbers of noncombatants.18 The report issued by the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict headed by Justice Richard Goldstone found both Israel and Hamas accountable for war crimes, although Israel was more harshly criticized for using excessive force and employing tactics that resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians and caused massive damage to the civil infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.19 The extent to which Operation Cast Lead either failed or succeeded in achieving its objectives is a matter of interpretation or emphasis. On the one hand, it failed to seriously impair Hamas’s military infrastructure and stop the influx of weapons to resupply Hamas.20 On the other hand, in the months following the war, Hamas suspended its use of rockets and shifted its focus to winning support at home in order to consolidate its rule. As a result of its efforts to exercise control over other Palestinian militant groups, the number of rockets attacks decreased considerably.21 Engaging Hamas: An Alternative Approach to Demilitarizing the Conflict There is no empirical evidence that would allow generalizations about the relative value of coercive versus noncoercive deescalation strategies.22 In the Gaza case, however, the punitive approach that has so far dominated Israeli policy has apparently failed to prevent the resumption or escalation of rocket fire. For this reason, a serious effort to seek alternatives is worthwhile. Instead of viewing Hamas largely through the lens of the “war on terror” proclaimed in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks, an attempt should be made toward an inclusive strategy that engages Hamas and encourages its transformation from an insurgent opposition movement to a responsible political actor. Whether such a strategy will work is a matter of controversy.23 One school of thought deems it unlikely that Hamas, on account of religious dogmas, will undergo such transformation.24 Another school of thought emphasizes the political flexibility that Hamas has demonstrated at various junctures as proof of its potential for transformation.25 Assuming that, despite its steady decline in public support in the years following the split, Hamas and its ideology of resistance will not simply disap- pear but will persist as a potent force in the Palestinian body politic,26 a strat- egy of engaging the organization is worth considering. Providing incentives to Hamas to become less militant and more politically accountable would raise the political costs of possessing and employing rockets and could induce it to seek face-saving ways of forsaking this option. Palestinian national reconcilia- tion that would include acceptance of future election outcomes irrespective of who carries the vote is essential to such transformation; in fact, a step in this direction was taken in May 2011, when Fatah and Hamas signed a rec- onciliation agreement one of whose provisions was formation of a national unity government that would lay the ground for presidential and legislative elections along the lines above, but the agreement appears to have brokenJPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 50 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 8. Asymmetric Tit-for-Tat Strategies in Gaza 51 down.† At the international and regional level, endorsement by Hamas of the two-state solution in line with the Arab League’s Peace Initiative of 2002,27 reaffirmed in 2007, would facilitate a change of mind on the part of external actors and might even affect Israel. Step by Step toward Accountability Disarmament: In principle, disarmament can either precede or follow the termination of a conflict; in practice, however, the latter is preferable because it stabilizes postconflict environments and helps start the next stages of recovery and development. In principle, disarmament can be either negotiated or enforced; in most cases, however, it is achieved through a mix of coercion and incentives. Disarmament can be carried out in various ways: by destroying the weapons, by putting them under the control of a legitimate authority, or by integrating the paramilitaries into the regular security ser- vices. Basically, disarmament is a politically driven process. In the Palestinian context, disarming the militias should be part of a com- prehensive approach that would include their demobilization and integration into PA security forces.28 Without doubt, this would go a long way to trans- forming Hamas and, for that matter, other Palestinian factions maintaining armed wings. However, this cannot occur without genuine political will, the cooperation of all parties involved, and an appropri- ate political climate, which in the Palestinian-Israeli Conditions likely to foster case can be excluded for the foreseeable future. Aside disarmament on the from the Fatah-Hamas dimension of any comprehen- wider Palestinian-Israeli sive approach, conditions likely to foster disarma- front cannot be created in ment on the wider Palestinian-Israeli front cannot technical ways, but must be created in technical ways, but must be generated be generated through through addressing the root causes of the conflict. addressing the root Only then would it be possible for the Palestinian causes of the conflict. militant groups to swallow the fact that their disar- mament (or integration into the PA forces) would be a totally one-sided affair insofar as it would most certainly not be reciprocated by any restraints on Israel’s military power. However, removal of the rocket threat need not await the conclusion of a formal agreement to end the conflict. By the same token, an agreed-upon long-term settlement cannot be accomplished under fire. So instead of get- ting stuck in a chicken-and-egg dilemma, incremental steps to reduce the violence in Israeli-Palestinian relations so as to allow meaningful negotiations are the more promising approach. Long-term truce: Whereas disarmament implies the physical elimination of weapons, a truce is solely a pledge not to use the weapons at one’s dis- posal, provided the other side reciprocates. As demonstrated in the years †See Doc. B4 in JPS 160, and Doc. A3 in the current issue. –Ed. Note.JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 51 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 9. 52 Journal of Palestine Studies following the abortive Israeli-PLO Camp David negotiations in 2000, uni- laterally declared ceasefires are usually short lived, due to failure to recip- rocate, the absence of monitoring, and/or a lack of agreed procedures on how to deal with disputes over alleged ceasefire breaches. Accordingly, a negotiated long-term truce needs to install mechanisms that address the vul- nerabilities of a ceasefire, namely provocative acts committed by so-called spoilers. In this regard, it is worth noting that Hamas leaders since 2004 have expressed readiness to accept in principle a long-term truce (hudna) under certain conditions within the context of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.29 Importantly, because a truce would ban the use of all military means within the overall asymmetric military equation (be they rockets, combat aircraft, suicide bombings, or unmanned aerial vehicles), a long-term truce can be achieved without transforming the conflict to such an extent that disarma- ment becomes possible. A long-term truce could encourage Hamas and other Palestinian fac- tions that still maintain military wings to reduce and finally relinquish their emphasis on a military course of action. This possibility rests on the assump- tion that Hamas further develops a pragmatic interest in exercising restraint based on a cost-benefit calculus influenced by sanctions and incentives from the outside as well as domestic considerations.30 Indeed, acting on such prag- matic considerations in the past, Hamas was able to bring its campaign of suicide attacks inside Israeli territory to a halt.31 Irrespective of the fate of the May 2011 reconciliation agreement, past Hamas-Fatah unity talks give reason to assume that in such future talks—which seem almost inevitable—Hamas would again respond positively to acceptance by Fatah of the principle of power sharing as well as the results of future elections. (In this regard, it is important to emphasize that Israel and the Western powers must also be willing to accept these principles in keeping with the democratic process.) Addressing other grievances, such as the blockade on the Gaza Strip or the shutting down of its charities in the West Bank, could also influence Hamas’s calculations of the costs and benefits of ceasefire arrangements as opposed to armed operations. It goes without saying that as long as the political division of the Palestinian territories persists and Hamas is denied the opportunity to integrate as a legitimate actor into the Palestinian political system, it will preserve its character as a hybrid organization that aims to garner popular support through exercising its monopoly on the use of force as well as con- ducting resistance operations. Integration into national-security structures: Given the continuing Israeli attacks on Hamas (which Israel holds responsible for provocations by dissident factions) and the low level of trust in its relations with Fatah, Hamas will remain armed during negotiations even with Fatah. As long as Hamas is threatened with obliteration, it will not abandon the weapons it sees as an equalizer. Therefore, within the framework of a long-term truce, gradual demilitarization may be the more promising option. One way of implementing it would be to integrate the military structures of Hamas intoJPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 52 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 10. Asymmetric Tit-for-Tat Strategies in Gaza 53 a national-security framework (an option almost certainly discussed in past discussions between the two parties), which in turn would require a new attempt at security-sector reform in the Palestinian territories. Due to the Palestinian divide and in line with Western blacklisting of Hamas as a terror organization, the reform measures undertaken under the guidance of American and European experts have been limited to the West Bank and moreover have been employed in ways that allow Hamas to portray the measures as primarily serving Israeli security interests. A reform that responds to the necessities of Palestinian unity must shed its politicized features and be based on Hamas- Fatah institutional coordination and cooperation. Integrated into a larger national-security structure, Hamas may eventually be able to relinquish sole control of its rocket arsenal and participate in negotiations on the elimination of these “nationalized” weapons in the framework of a peace treaty. Conclusion Engaging Hamas is not a technical issue. It needs to take into account the dynamics of the armed struggle that, in the absence of a long-term solution, can be revived easily under the proper circumstances. It needs to involve the rank and file; addressing only the top echelons and disregarding popu- lar perceptions and sentiments would be a recipe for failure. With regard to this, four observations deserve special attention. First, the notion that Israel’s military superiority will ensure its survival against all odds does not go undisputed; the Israeli withdrawals from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip have been adduced as evidence that Israel can be defeated militarily. Second, the perception that the rockets create a balance of fear can satisfy an emotional need among the population of the occupied territories show- ing that the enemy suffers, too.32 Third, in an atmosphere of disillusionment with regard to stalled or fruitless negotiations, military operations can be useful in the competition with other Palestinian factions for popular consent as they bolster the image of an organization willing to stand up against great odds. Fourth, the credibility of rivals that have opted for negotiations with the enemy can be easily undermined by military tit-for-tat tactics. Engaging Hamas is suggested here with the expectation that such approach would be instrumental in stemming the tides of violence that are periodically afflicting the troubled region, thereby facilitating negotiations to resolve the seemingly intractable conflict. Endnotes 1. For an in-depth analysis of the roots and Ways Forward (London: Routledge, and rationales of suicide bombing in the 2005), pp. 87–102. context of the Israeli-Palestinian con- 2. The first such incident occurred flict, see Hisham H. Ahmed, “Palestinian on 16 April 2001, when a rocket fired Resistance and ‘Suicide Bombing’: Causes from the Gaza Strip landed harmlessly and Consequences,” in Tore Bjørgo, ed., in a field on Israeli territory. On 28 June Root Causes of Terrorism: Myth, Reality 2004, two rockets landed near a schoolJPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 53 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 11. 54 Journal of Palestine Studies and shopping center in Sederot, killing a 8. The Meir Amit Intelligence and man and a three-year-old child. Terrorism Information Center, Terrorism 3. Israel Ministry of Foreign from the Gaza Strip since Operation Affairs, Suicide and Other Cast Lead: Data, Type and Trends Bombing Attacks in Israel since (Ramat Hasharon: IICC, 17 March 2011), the Declaration of Principles (Sept http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_ 1993), http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/ multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e169. Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/ pdf. Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Suicide 9. GlobalSecurity.org, HAMAS +and+Other+Bombing+Attacks+in+Isra Rockets, http://www.globalsecurity.org/ el+Since. military/world/para/hamas-qassam.htm. 4. B’Tselem, Rocket and Mortar Fire 10. Anshel Pfeffer and Yanir Yagna, into Israel (Jerusalem: B’Tselem, 2010), “Iron Dome Successfully Intercepts Gaza http://www.btselem.org/israeli_civil- Rocket for First Time,” Ha’Aretz, 7 April ians/qassam_missiles. See also the 2011, http://www.haaretz.com/news/ Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission diplomacy-defense/iron-dome-success- on the Gaza Conflict (the “Goldstone fully-intercepts-gaza-rocket-for-first-time- Report”), 25 September 2009, UN 1.354696. General Assembly Document A/64/490, 11. The Meir Amit Intelligence http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/7 and Terrorism Information Center, 762C5EF0B1DEA24852576650053D1AA0, News of Terrorism and the Israeli- paras. 1594–1691, excerpted in Journal Palestinian Conflict (August 17–22, of Palestine Studies 29, no. 2 (Winter 2011) (Ramat Hasharon: IICC, 22 August 2010), pp. 89–94. 2011), http://www.terrorism-info.org. 5. Barbara Opall-Rome, “In Gaza, Both il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/ Sides Reveal New Gear,” Defense News, 5 html/ipc_e219.htm. January 2009, http://www.defensenews. 12. Reuven Pedatzur and Ha’Aretz com/story.php?i=3885990. Correspondent, “Iron Dome System 6. According to the April 2011 Found to Be Helpless against Qassams,” poll of the Jerusalem Media and Ha’Aretz, 22 February 2008, http:// Communications Centre, 61.1 percent www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/956859. of Gazans polled (total 448 polled) html. See also Ben Hartman, “Iron Dome support the continuation of military Doesn’t Answer Threats,” Jerusalem operations against Israeli targets (either Post, 9 May 2010, http://www.jpost.com/ in Israel only, the occupied territories Israel/Article.aspx?id=175042. only, or both together) compared to 36.7 13. Alon Ben-David, “Iron Dome percent of West Bank residents polled Advances to Meet Qassam Threat,” (total 750 polled). Poll No. 73, April Jane’s Information Group (Bracknell: 2011, Governance and Reconciliation IHS Global Limited, 2008), http://www. (Ramallah: JMCC, 17 April 2011), http:// janes.com/news/defence/systems/jdw/ www.jmcc.org/documentsandmaps. jdw080318_2_n.shtml. aspx?id=827. 14. Anshel Pfeffer, “Israeli Defense 7. In 2006, Islamic Jihad and Fatah’s Sources: Gaza Terror Groups Changing al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade reportedly fired Tactics to Avoid Iron Dome System,” a Qassam rocket at Israel from the West Ha’Aretz, 22 August 2011, http:// Bank town of Jenin. The attack marked www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/ the first (and at the time of writing the israeli-defense-sources-gaza-terror- only) time a Qassam was fired at an groups-changing-tactics-to-avoid-iron- Israeli target from the West Bank. It came dome-system-1.379914. close to hitting a Jewish community. 15. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, See Ronny Shaked, “Qassam Fired from “Address by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon West Bank,” Ynet, 1 January 2006, http:// at the Fourth Herzliya Conference,” 18 www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340, December 2003 http://www.mfa.gov.il/ L-3193067,00.html. See also “A-Zahar MFA/Government/Speeches+by+Israeli+ Calls for Rockets to be Fired from the leaders/2003/Address+by+PM+Ariel+ West Bank,” The Jerusalem Post, 20 June Sharon+at+the+Fourth+Herzliya.htm. 2010, http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/ 16. See UNRWA, Labour Market Article.aspx?id=178963. Briefing: Gaza Strip (Jerusalem:JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 54 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 12. Asymmetric Tit-for-Tat Strategies in Gaza 55 UNRWA, April 2011), http://www.unrwa. include Hamas in a peace settlement, see org/userfiles/201106083557.pdf. Jeroen Gunning, “Peace with Hamas? 17. Sergio Catignani “Variation on The Transforming Potential of Political a Theme: Israel’s Operation Cast Lead Participation,” International Affairs 80, and the Gaza Strip Missile Conundrum,” no. 2, pp. 233–34. Royal United Services Institute Journal 24. Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, 154, no. 4 (2009), p. 68. Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of 18. The Israeli human rights organi- Jihad (New Haven: Yale University Press, zation B’Tselem reported 1,387 killed, 2006). of whom 759 were noncombatants: 25. Jeroen Gunning, Hamas in “Operation Cast Lead, 27 Dec. ’08 to 18 Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence Jan. ’09,” http://www.btselem.org/gaza_ (New York: Columbia University Press, strip/castlead_operation. The Palestinian 2009). Centre for Human Rights, on the other 26. See Alon Ben-Meir, “Above hand, reported 1,417 killed, includ- the Fray: The Untenable Status Quo,” ing 1,167 noncombatants: “Targeted Jerusalem Post, 15 July 2011, http:// Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/ Military Offensive against the Gaza Strip, Article.aspx?id=229414 . 27 December 2008–18 January 2009” 27. The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002. (Gaza City: PCHR, 28 October 2009), p. Official translation of the full text of a 10. The Goldstone Report does not give Saudi-inspired peace plan adopted by casualty figures, although it does remark the Arab summit in Beirut, 2002, http:// that “the statistics from non-governmen- www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/ tal sources are generally consistent” peace02.htm. (para. 361). 28. See United Nations Disarmament, 19. United Nations Human Rights Demobilization and Reintegration Council, Human Rights in Palestine and Resource Centre, What Is DDR? October Other Occupied Arab Territories, Report 2009, http://www.unddr.org/whatisddr. of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission php. on the Gaza Conflict, 25 September (New 29. See Beverly Milton-Edwards and York: United Nations, 2009), http:// Alastair Crooke, “Waving, Not Drowning: www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcoun- Strategic Dimensions of Ceasefires and cil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf. Islamic Movements,” Security Dialogue 35, 20. Catignani, “Variation on a Theme,” no. 3 (2004), p. 295–310. Hamas has also p. 72. demonstrated the ability to honor agreed- 21. From January 2010 until July 2011, upon ceasefires, most recently in the Israeli territory was hit by 236 rockets. months leading up to Operation Cast Lead, See Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism when Egypt brokered a 6-month cease- Information Center, News of Terrorism. fire, signed by the two parties on 17 June This amounts to a monthly average of 2008. The ceasefire was observed until 4 twelve hits, while during the five months November 2008 when it was broken by preceding the ceasefire of June 2008, a Israel. Efforts to restore it failed, and hostil- monthly average of 197 rockets hit Israeli ities were launched on 27 December 2008. territory. See Intelligence and Terrorism See JPS 151, Special Gaza Focus under Information Center, Israel Intelligence “Lead-Up to Operation Cast Lead.” Heritage and Commemoration Center, 30. For conceptualizing Hamas as a Summary of Rocket Fire and Mortar “limited spoiler” that is not principally Shelling in 2008 (Ramot Hasharon: IICC, oriented toward violence but responsive 2009), http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/ to its political environments, see Jeroen malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ Gunning, “Hamas: Socialization and ipc_e007.pdf. the Logic of Compromise,” in Marianne 22. Louis Kriesberg, International Heiberg, Brendan O’Leary, and John Conflict Resolution: The U.S.-USSR and Tirman, eds., Terror, Insurgency, and Middle East Cases (New Haven: Yale the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts University Press, 1992), pp. 83–84. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania 23. For an overview of the debate on Press, 2007), pp. 123–54. whether Hamas is an immutable enemy 31. Hamas’s last suicide attack inside of peace or whether it is feasible to Israeli territory was in February 2008,JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 55 28/10/11 9:47 AM
  • 13. 56 Journal of Palestine Studies though two additional suicide attacks were MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/ carried out in March and April, respec- Hamas+war+against+Israel/Missile+fire+ tively in East Jersualem and at one of the from+Gaza+on+Israeli+civilian+targets+ crossing points between Gaza and Israel. Aug+2007.htm. For a statement on ending suicide bomb- 32. Greg Myre “Rockets Create ings by Hamas Gaza leader Mahmud al- a ‘Balance of Fear’ with Israel, Zahar, see “Statement in Interview: Rocket Gaza Residents Say,” New York Barrage of Sederot Is Hamas Strategy,” Times, 8 July 2006, http://www. in Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nytimes.com/2006/07/09/world/ The Hamas Terror War against Israel middleeast/09rockets.html?_r=1& (Jerusalem: Israel Ministry of Foreign pagewanted=print&oref=slogin. Affairs, 2008), http://www.mfa.gov.il/ Militants from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine take part in a military training session in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, 19 May 2011. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)JPS4101_04_Johansson.indd 56 28/10/11 9:47 AM