TEL AVIV, September 9 --The Israeli military test-fired its Arrow (Hetz) 2 interceptor missile jointly with their US colleagues, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.
"The interceptor completed all planned flight stages," the ministry said in a statement. “The test should study the possibilities of the improved system to counter perspective threats,” the statement reads.
The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier in the day that Russian missile warning systems had detected the launch of a ballistic object in the Mediterranean region at 08:31GMT. Israeli military experts said that the Russian military had detected either the missile itself or the target drone that it was supposed to hit.
According to The Times of Israel, Tel Aviv is in the process of developing a five-tiered system of air defense aimed at protection against projectiles ranging from mortars to ballistic weapons. Arrow (Hetz) 2, rolled out in March 2000, is an Israeli interceptor developed to counter ballistic missiles at atmospheric altitudes. Arrow 2 has an overall length of 7 meters (23 ft), a body diameter of 0.8 meters, and a launch weight of around 1,300 kg (2,900 lb). It can achieve the speed of 3 kilometers per second.
One Arrow 2 interceptor missile is worth between $1.5 million to $3 million. It is part of Israel’s Homa missile defense system created together with US companies.
Source: De Peet Journal
ROTTERDAM, September 8 -- Iron Dome is arguably one of the most talked about defence systems in the world.
Israeli officials say the defence "shield" is able to detect an incoming rocket, determine its path and likely point of impact, and intercept it if it poses a threat to Israeli towns or cities. Some rockets land in empty fields, while others are shot down by a battery of Tamim interceptor missiles.
Israel claims that of the purported 3,500 rockets fired from Gaza during its latest military operation, 90 percent of those that would have hit population centres were neutralised by the Iron Dome system. But experts outside of the country have questioned the efficiency of the system. "'In order for Iron Dome to have any chance of detonating the rocket warheads, it must engage from the front, in what is called an Inverse Trajectory," wrote Richard Lloyd, a warhead designer, in a recently declassified 28-page technical report.
In other words, the Iron Dome missiles must approach rockets head-on, or the probability of intercepting them drops to virtually zero. This is due to the nature of the interceptors' warhead, which is not in the nose of the missile but a third of the length down. When very close to its target, the interceptor will detonate, sending a shower of steel rods out to the side of the missile to destroy the rocket. The only way these rods can successfully hit a rocket warhead is when the interceptor comes up to meet the rocket and passes just by it. Attempting to hit the rocket side-on will have virtually no chance of success.
Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and missile defence expert, headed a group that assessed the effectiveness of the Patriot missile defence system installed in Israel at the end of the first Gulf War. While figures at the time reported a resounding success - Postol told Al Jazeera that although officials claimed that 94 percent of Scud and al-Hussein missiles were shot down - he estimates the real figure was "probably zero".
Postol, a vocal critic of the Iron Dome, has based a portion of his research on open source pictures and video of the Iron Dome's Tamim interceptor contrails, the visible smoke path left by a missile. He told Al Jazeera that these showed "that 80-90 percent of the time, the Iron Dome [missiles] are not even close to the correct engagement geometry", and added that the Iron Dome system is not engaging rockets head-on and therefore not working as it should.
Postol said the video evidence of the contrails is damning; not because it might show a successful rocket detonation, but because it shows the sudden changes in course made when the interceptor realises it is not on a direct path to the incoming rocket. The contrails show the Tamir interceptor attempting to engage the rocket side on, with a success rate of virtually zero. A report written by Yiftah Shapir, of Israel's Institute of National Security Studies, contradicted Postol and Lloyd's findings, however. Shapir said the majority of the video evidence Postol examined was not filmed in a scientific manner, and said that several of the clips could be of the same event, filmed from different angles.
"There is no way that a smartphone camera could distinguish between a double and a single explosion," Shapir wrote.
But Lloyd argued that even when the rockets are being intercepted, they aren't necessarily being neutralised. The warheads contained in Palestinian rockets are "very difficult to detonate because they are made with thick steel cases... backed with insensitive TNT explosive", he found.
GAZA, September 3 -- Hamas's support has surged after its war with Israel and would win Palestinian elections if they were held today, an opinion poll suggests.
The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research's poll, released on Tuesday, suggested Hamas leader Ismail Haniya would win almost twice as many votes as Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas, in a two-way presidential election. More than half of respondents said armed resistance - a pillar of Hamas's ideology - would help gain a Palestinian state, as opposed to 20 percent who said they supported non-violent means.
And 79 percent of respondents said they believed that Hamas won the Gaza war, three percent backed Israel and 17 percent said both sides were losers. There have been no national elections since Hamas won polls in 2007 and took control of Gaza. Hamas has fought three wars against Israel while Fatah has pursued on-off talks, mediated by the United States, which have so far failed to secure an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
Meanwhile, a rare rally by thousands of Hamas supporters in Ramallah on Saturday passed without incident under the watchful eyes of plain-clothes Fatah forces, although Hamas complained that several of its backers were arrested afterwards. The Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research describes itself as a Ramallah-based independent non-profit institution and think tank.
The survey was conducted with more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
In comments delivered in a prime-time address on national television, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that "Hamas was hit hard," adding that Israel "didn't agree to accept any of Hamas' demands" under the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal.
"The ceasefire was achieved without any of the terms being given," Netanyahu said, before reeling off key demands Hamas had made but were not accepted, including reopening the seaport and airport and removing restrictions on the movement of the people of Gaza.
He said tunnels and the infrastructure Hamas had built over the years had been destroyed and that ground forces were deployed for that reason, adding that Israeli forces had been withdrawn to prevent kidnapping by Hamas fighters.
Netanyahu's comments came amid criticism over his handling of the seven-week military operation that has killed more than 2,200 people. Israel lost 64 soldiers and six civilians. Both hard-liners in his governing coalition, as well as residents of rocket-scarred southern Israel, have said the war was a failure because it did not halt Hamas' rocket attacks or remove the group from power. The ambiguous ceasefire delivered an immediate halt in the fighting and has promised an easing of Israel's blockade of Gaza to allow humanitarian aid and construction goods to enter for the rebuilding of the territory.
All goods are to go in under international supervision.
ROTTERDAM, August 27 -- Both sides claim the indefinite truce as a "victory", but Netanyahu faces criticism in Israel over the offensive.
An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war was holding as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costly conflict with Palestinian fighters in which no clear victor emerged.
On the streets of the battered, Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, people headed to shops and banks, trying to resume the normal pace of life after seven weeks of fighting. Thousands of others, who had fled the battles and sheltered with relatives or in schools, returned home, where some found only rubble, Reuters news agency reported.
The agreement, which went into force at 1600 GMT on Tuesday, saw the warring sides agree to a "permanent" ceasefire which Israel said would not be limited by time, in a move hailed by the United States, the United Nations and top world diplomats.
Both Israel and Hamas hailed the ceasefire as a victory, while experts said the two sides had agreed to halt their fire out of exhaustion after seven weeks of fighting, which has claimed the lives of 2,143 Palestinians and 70 on the Israeli side. Six of those are soldiers.
"After 50 days of fighting, the two sides were exhausted so that's why they reached a ceasefire," Middle East expert Eyal Zisser told AFP. Politically, Hamas had "not achieved anything" but to really weaken it, Israel would have to resume peace talks with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, he said.
Under the deal, Israel will ease restrictions on the entry of goods, humanitarian aid and construction materials into Gaza, and it expanded the offshore area open to Palestinian fishermen to six nautical miles.
ROTTERDAM, August 26 -- Palestinians and Israeli media report long-term deal agreed, with Egyptian mediators saying ceasefire in effect tonight.
Egyptian and Palestinian officials have said an open-ended agreement has been sealed with Israel to end seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, with Hamas describing the ceasefire deal as a "victory for the resistance".Two Egyptian officials told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that a statement would be made at 17.00 GMT, and that the ceasefire would begin an hour later.
Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting Gaza, said that the deal agreed an immediate easing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and a gradual lifting of restrictions on fishing off the coast of the strip. An initial ceasefire had been set down for a month, reports said.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, hailed the agreement as a chance to "build a new nation and end the occupation", before thanking Egypt for its role in brokering the agreement. Hamas's exiled deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said halied the agreement qas a "victory for the resistance".
Israeli media reported that Israeli ministers had been updated that Israel accepted the Egyptian ceasefire deal. The leader of Palestinian delegation to the ceasefire talks, Azzam al-Ahmad, said the deal was reached following 48 hours of extensive talks with officials in Doha, Cairo, Gaza and Ramallah. Israeli air raids continued on Tuesday, as jets attacked two Gaza City high-rises, collapsing one building and severely damaging the other.
One attack levelled the 15-storey Basha tower and severely damaged a 13-storey building known as the Italian complex, which was home to 70 families and dozens of shops and offices. Palestinian health officials said 20 people were wounded in the Italian complex attack. A total of 2,138 people, most of them civilians including more than 490 children, have been killed in Gaza since war broke out on July 8.
Thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict, while the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 540,000 people had been displaced by the violence.
Source: Al Jazeera
The deadliest Israeli air strike on Saturday levelled a home in Al-Zawayda in central Gaza, killing a couple, their sons aged three and four, and a 45-year-old aunt, medics said. Another seven Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli strike that struck a house in Zeitoun, east of Gaza City, medics said.Witnesses and Palestinian officials said two mosques were destroyed in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza, while a third, in the Shati refugee camp, which had already been damaged, was bombed again.
The Israeli military said it had carried out about 20 air strikes over the Gaza Strip early on Saturday. Israeli officials said that more than 80 rockets were fired from Gaza on Friday. Loud explosions and thick plumes of smoke could be seen over Gaza City on Saturday morning as fighting continued between Israel and Hamas, according to the AP news agency.
Earlier, there were conflicting reports regarding the death toll.
Hamas 'agrees' to join ICC
Eighty-one Palestinians and a four-year-old Israeli boy have been killed and nine Israeli civilians wounded since Tuesday, when truce talks collapsed ending nine days of calm. Israel has vowed no let-up until it can guarantee the safety of its civilians, while Hamas insists that Israel must end its eight-year blockade of the territory as part of any truce.
Meanwhile, a senior Hamas leader who has been taking part in the Cairo negotiations has confirmed that the group will back any Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
According to Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas has signed a paper of support requested by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
A Gaza security official said the first batch involved 11 people who were killed early on Friday at the Gaza City police headquarters. Six more were killed later in the day in a public execution in a central Gaza square, according to a Hamas website and witnesses cited by Reuters news agency. Three suspected collaborators were also killed on Thursday.
The victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black in front of a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque after prayers, witnesses and al-Majd, a pro-Hamas website, said. The Gaza security official said the 11 men had previously been sentenced by Gaza courts, reported the Associated Press news agency.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the incident with reporters.
Israel's intelligence services rely, in part, on informers to pinpoint the whereabouts of Hamas leaders.
"Israel has a long and successful history of recruiting collaborators and informers both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, and they do so through a variety of different means: sometimes it is financial inducements; other times it is blackmail, bullying, threats, promises [and] maybe intimidating family members," said Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from west Jerusalem.
She said that by publicising the retribution brought down on the 18 people, Hamas was sending a deterrent to other Palestinians. The news came as five Palestinians were killed by an Israeli air strike, the latest since Egyptian-led ceasefire talks collapsed three days ago.
Ashraf al-Kidra, a Gaza health official, said on Friday some of the victims were workers at a livestock farm that was hit in the airstrike. The Israeli military said it carried out 20 airstrikes early on Friday, targeting rocket launchers and weapons sites. It said Gaza fighters fired two rockets at Israel.
Friday's fighting came as funerals were held for three senior Hamas commanders killed by Israeli air raids.
One of the top authors of The Peet Journal is Pete McGea. As a native born Scotsman, Pete