nadav rotenberg 58.
(photo credit: courtesy)
Officers in the Southern Command say that it is due to the weather, the fog or
the difficult terrain. Others blame technological malfunctions. Whatever the
cause, there is no hiding the fact the IDF is encountering a big problem during
operations inside and around the Gaza Strip – many of them end in friendly-fire
RELATED:Rocket, mortar fire escalates on Gaza border
During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip two years ago,
for example, four soldiers were killed in friendly-fire incidents.
March, 2010, a soldier from a tank crew was shot dead by an infantry force; last
month, a soldier was seriously wounded by friendly fire and on Friday, again,
Sgt. Nadav Rotenberg was killed by IDF mortar fire.
Despite the two years
that have passed since Operation Cast Lead, the IDF has yet to find a solution
to preventing friendly fire incidents, many of which are the result of mistaken
identification like that which occurred during Cast Lead. The GroundForces Command is working hard on finding a solution.
Some ideas involve
thermal flags that will be carried by a force that can only be detected by
special night-vision goggles, laser beams that can be fired at a suspect and
provide an answer if he is a friendly or enemy combatant or the possibility of
attaching a GPS-tracker to each soldier.
According to the IDF
investigation into the shooting on Friday, one of the mortars deviated from its
course due to a technical malfunction in the launcher’s guidance system. The
system, called Keshet, has been in IDF use for about two years and has proven
mostly successful in accurately hitting enemy targets.
technological solution is required, the more likely problem with Gaza, a senior
IDF officer explained on Saturday, was that while the Israeli public might not
be aware of it, there is a war fought there almost every day and in wars there
are unfortunately casualties.
The fighting is not inside the Gaza Strip
but is along the border where Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists daily try to
target IDF troops on patrol.
IDF troops stationed along the border face
daily firefights, mortar attacks and explosive devices planted along the
security fence. The soldiers need to also prevent infiltrations and for them
being stationed along the Gaza border is the same as being stationed in a war
The two years that have passed since Operation Cast Lead have
helped create a new security reality along the border. The numbers speak for
themselves – in 2010, 150 rockets landed in Israel compared to 569 in 2009 and
over 2,000 in 2008. On the other hand, the IDF Southern Command is facing an
increase in attacks in recent weeks, understood to be the result of the time
that has passed since the operation.
“The operation created deterrence
but deterrence erodes and needs to be maintained,” the senior officer
In the meantime, while the IDF does not predict another major
round against Hamas in the near future, the army is expected to escalate its
response to the almost-daily attacks in an effort to prevent more in the future.
With this cycle of violence continuing though, it is difficult to tell where and
how it will end.