Iron Dome: Hero or villain?

This system could do more harm than good if it makes government deem rocket fire "tolerable."

March 19, 2012 15:04
Smoke trails after rockets are fired in Gaza

Smoke trails from rockets being fired in Gaza 311 (R). (photo credit: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)

The Iron Dome anti-missile system has been popularly dubbed the hero of the recent violence out of Gaza, and in some ways, rightly so. It prevented casualties and property damage. It spared countless Israelis the anguish of having a loved one injured or killed or a house destroyed. It saved significant amounts of money: Despite costing far more than the Palestinians’ Qassam and Grad rockets, an Iron Dome missile costs less than rebuilding a home or factory or treating severe injuries – expenses the government would otherwise have to cover, since by law, it must compensate its citizens for all terrorism-related damage.

Finally, Iron Dome gave the government diplomatic and military maneuvering room. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that now, when Israel has finally managed to focus international attention on Iran, and Syrian President Bashar Assad has focused it on Iran’s ally in Damascus, is not the moment to divert the world’s attention back to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, such a diversion was likely what the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad sought when it seized on Israel’s killing of a senior official from another organization, the Popular Resistance Committees, as an excuse for massive rocket fire on the south.


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