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Israel’s U.S.-Made Military Might Overwhelms Palestinians

The two-week long conflict has claimed the lives of more than 620 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including over 230 women and children, and over 3,700 wounded, while the Israeli death toll is 27 soldiers and two civilians. Credit: Syeda Amina Trust Charity/cc by 2.0

The two-week long conflict has claimed the lives of more than 620 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including over 230 women and children, and over 3,700 wounded, while the Israeli death toll is 27 soldiers and two civilians. Credit: Syeda Amina Trust Charity/cc by 2.0

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 23 2014 (IPS) - The overwhelming Israeli firepower unleashed on the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the ongoing battle in Gaza is perhaps reminiscent of the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) when France, the colonial power, used its vastly superior military strength to strike back at the insurgents with brutal ferocity.

While France was accused of using its air force to napalm civilians in the countryside, the Algerians were accused of using handmade bombs hidden in women’s handbags and left surreptitiously in cafes, restaurants and public places frequented by the French.

"Unless you have been on the street facing Israeli troops in Gaza, or sleeping on the floor under an Israeli aerial assault, as I have several times while delivering aid in 1989, 2000, and 2009, it's impossible to imagine the total disproportion of power in this conflict." -- Dr. James E. Jennings

In one of the memorable scenes in the 1967 cinematic classic “The Battle of Algiers,” a handcuffed leader of the National Liberation Front (NLF), Ben M’Hidi, is brought before a group of highly-partisan French journalists for interrogation.

One of the journalists asks M’Hidi: “Don’t you think it is a bit cowardly to use women’s handbags and baskets to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?”

The Algerian insurgent shoots back with equal bluntness: “And doesn’t it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on unarmed villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims?”

Then he delivers the devastating punchline: “Of course, if we had your fighter planes, it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our handbags and baskets.”

In the current conflict in Gaza, a role reversal would see Hamas armed with fighter planes, air-to-surface missiles and battle tanks, while the Israelis would be hitting back only with homemade rockets.

But in reality what is taking place in Gaza is a totally outmatched and outranked Hamas fighting a country with one of the world’s most formidable and sophisticated military machines, whose state-of-the-art equipment is provided gratis – under so-called “Foreign Military Financing (FMF)” – by the United States.

According to the latest figures, the two-week long conflict has claimed the lives of more than 620 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including over 230 women and children, and over 3,700 wounded, while the Israeli death toll is 27 soldiers and two civilians.

Speaking of the military imbalance, Dr. James E. Jennings, president of Conscience International and executive director of U.S. Academics for Peace, told IPS, “Unless you have been on the street facing Israeli troops in Gaza, or sleeping on the floor under an Israeli aerial assault, as I have several times while delivering aid in 1989, 2000, and 2009, it’s impossible to imagine the total disproportion of power in this conflict.

“I saw boys who were merely running away shot in the back by Israeli soldiers with Uzi [submachine guns] and arrayed in body armour, and in 2009 and 2012 at Rafah witnessed Israel’s technological superiority in coordinating sophisticated computers, drones, and F-15s with devastating effect,” he said.

The repeated missile strikes ostensibly targeted youths scrambling through tunnels like rats to bring food and medicine to the trapped population, but often hit helpless civilians fleeing the bombing as well, said Jennings.

He also pointed out that in terms of the imbalance in the number of casualties in this so-called “war”, statistics speak for themselves. However, numbers on a page do not do justice to the up-close reality.

“In my work I have visited wounded women and children in hospitals in Rafah and Gaza City and helped carry out the bodies of the dead for burial,” Jennings said.

When military capabilities are that asymmetrical, he said, shooting fish in a barrel is the best analogy.

As for the largely homemade Qassam rockets launched by Hamas, their ineffectiveness is apparent in the statistical results: over 2,000 launched, with only two unlucky civilians killed on the Israeli side.

“That is far less than the eight Americans killed accidentally last year by celebratory rockets on the 4th of July,” Jennings noted.

The billions of dollars in sophisticated U.S. weapons purchased by Israel are under non-repayable FMF grants, according to defence analysts.

Israel is currently the recipient of a 10-year, 30-billion-dollar U.S. military aid package, 2009 through 2018.

And according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Israel is also the largest single recipient of FMF, and by 2015, these grants will account for about 55 percent of all U.S. disbursements worldwide, and represent about 23-25 percent of the annual Israeli military budget.

Nicole Auger, a military analyst who covers the Middle East and Africa at Forecast International, a leader in defence market intelligence and industry forecasting, told IPS Israel imports practically all its weapons from the U.S. – and this largely consists of sophisticated equipment it does not produce domestically, or equipment it finds more expedient to buy with U.S. assistance funding.

She said despite a proposed shift in emphasis from air and naval power to ground strength, Israel continues to place priority on maintaining air superiority over all its regional neighbours.

The emphasis on air supremacy and strike capability has resulted in an additional order for F-15I fighters to serve as the lead fighter until the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is brought into service with the Israeli Air Force (IAF), she said.

Along with its 25 long-range strike F-15Is (Ra’ams), the IAF also has 102 multirole combat F-16Is (Soufas) purchased under the Peace Marble V programme in 1999 (50 platforms) and 2001 (option for a further 52 planes), Auger said.

The F-15I and F-16I jets, some of which are being used for aerial bombings of Gaza, are customised versions of the American fighters tailored to specific Israeli needs.

Israel’s military arsenal also includes scores of attack helicopters.

Auger said the Sikorsky CH-53 heavy-lift helicopter fleet was just upgraded with the IAI Elta Systems EL/M-2160 flight guard protection system, which detects incoming missiles with radar and then activates diversionary countermeasures.

Israel has also completed a major upgrade to its fleet of Bell AH-1E/F/G/S Cobra attack helicopters and its Boeing AH-64A Apache helicopters has been converted to AH-64D Longbow standards.

The middle layer of defence is provided by the upgraded Patriot PAC 2 anti-missile system (PAC 3) and the air force is also armed with Paveway laser-guided bombs, BLU-109 penetration bombs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) kits, and GBU-28 bunker busters.

In terms of vehicles, she said, Israel manufactures the majority of its own.

Jennings told IPS two facts are largely missing in the standard media portrayal of the Israel-Gaza “war:” the right of self-defence, so stoutly defended by Israelis and their allies in Washington, is never mentioned about the period in 1948 when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes and pushed off their land to be enclosed in the world’s largest prison camp that is Gaza.

Secondly, the world has stood by silently while Israel, with complicity by the U.S. and Egypt, has literally choked the life out of the 1.7 million people in Gaza by a viciously effective cordon sanitaire, an almost total embargo on goods and services, greatly impacting the availability of food and medicine.

“These are war crimes, stark and ongoing violations of international humanitarian law perpetuated over the last seven years while the world has continued to turn away,” Jennings said.

“The indelible stain of that shameful neglect will not be erased for centuries, yet many people in the West continue to wonder at all the outrage in the Middle East,” he added.

 
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  • Pounce

    As for the largely homemade Qassam rockets launched by Hamas, their ineffectiveness is apparent in the statistical results: over 2,000 launched, with only two unlucky civilians killed on the Israeli side.

    That’s a little disingenuous isn’t it. The reason why there is a much lower death toll in Israel, is due to its Iron dome missile system a very well oiled early warning system, by law each home having a bomb shelter, Bomb shelters in each and every town and a first world medical system. Lets be honest it isn’t for a lack of trying on behalf of Hamas who are actually using military grade Missile procured from Syria.Libya and Iran.

  • solohoh .

    It does seem ridiculous that Americans supply the weapons that demolish all those civil improvements and then supply the resources to rebuild them. Someone is disregarding the tragedy of human suffering and making a lot of money out of this. If we could just get both sides to exercise birth control in that crowded area then the real problem –lack of real estate — would become diffused.

  • PJ London

    If “each home having a bomb shelter,” in Gaza they are called “terrorist tunnels” and form the justification for Israel bombing Gaza civilians.

    The “Rockets” are manufactured in garages and have little to no explosive warheads with crude fuses and detonators.

    They are not “weapons” but symbols of the Palestinian resistance.

    ” military grade Missile” only according to Israel, and then more than 30 years old.
    How would you suggest that “military grade Missile” (40ft?) are smuggled through Egypt, Jordan etc to Gaza, without the israelis knowing about it?
    Perhaps the evil “Muslim fairy” does while we are all sleeping, along with the tooth fairy.

  • Pounce

    The “Rockets” are manufactured in garages and have little to no explosive warheads with crude fuses and detonators.

    Sorry to disagree, but the vast majority of weapons used by Hamas are bought. The home made tag only go to support their self imposed victim status. This can be substantiated by the Long range missiles procured from Iran,Syria, Sudan and Libya. In fact Hamas is currently in the middle of deals with North Korea to purchased more.

  • PJ London

    Could you provide a source for ” the vast majority of weapons ”

    According to the Jewish policy centre.
    “Qassam rockets (Qassam O they IV) are home made projectiles made from common civilian products, including pipes made of steel, cast iron, and aluminum. The pipe is affixed at the top end with a small warhead that weighs just a few pounds. At the bottom end of the tube, a set of wings is affixed for stability, along with detonators and fuses. The warheads are usually made of homemade explosives, but now are increasingly made of higher-grade explosives. Hamas has also been adding metal shrapnel to increase the damage. The fuel used to propel the rockets is usually made of melted sugar combined with commercial fertilizer.”

    “Smuggled Syrian-made rockets based on a Chinese design have boosted Hamas’ 10,000-strong arsenal which is dominated by crude homemade devices, officials and experts say.

    A surface-to-surface weapon that struck the coastal town Hadera – 30 miles north of Tel Aviv and 70 miles from the Gaza Strip – is an “M-302 type rocket” similar to a shipment of rockets Israel intercepted at sea in March, the Israeli Defense Forces said Wednesday.”

    “We understand that there are several other tens of these rockets within the Gaza Strip,

    The IDF says most of rockets fired at the center of the country are makeshift, Gaza-made ones.”

    I.e. 10,000 rockets ; tens of which are factory manufactured.

    Hardly a vast majority.

  • Pounce

    The Week

    Hamas is also using grad (or “Katyusha”) rockets, which are generally made in China and have a greater reach and larger warheads. Unlike the grads used by Russians, those smuggled to Hamas by way of tunnels from Egypt lack vehicle mounts; their launchers are improvised, and again, are pretty unreliable with regard to where they land. Their increased blast radius compensates for this shortcoming.

    Of Hamas’ known, conventional weapons, the Israeli government would seem to fear Fajr-5 rockets the most. The Iranian-made rockets have a range of nearly 50 miles, and pack 200-pound warheads. Iron Dome is able to intercept Fajr-5s, but it’s their range that’s most alarming — the rockets can easily reach Tel Aviv, which is 43 miles north of Gaza, and the largest population center in Israel. Israeli air strikes launched early in the campaign specifically targeted Fajr launch and storage facilities, and only a few are thought to remain in Gaza.

  • Pounce

    The Guardian
    Hamas has rockets in its arsenal capable of reaching most cities and towns in Israel, apart from the far north and south – a big advance on previous conflicts. The Syrian-made M302 has a range of 160 miles, according to the IDF. However, Hamas’s missiles have so far failed to cause serious damage or casualties. Two Israeli civilians have been killed to date, and more than 420 rockets have been shot down by Israel’s vaunted missile defence system, Iron Dome.

  • Pounce

    How would you suggest that “military grade Missile” (40ft?) are smuggled through Egypt, Jordan etc to Gaza, without the israelis knowing about it?
    A lot of the heavy weapons used by Hamas were brought in , when the MB were in power, that backed fired and bit the MB on the bum, when men from Gaza attacked an Egyptian mil post during ramadan in 2012 killing 16 soldiers.

  • PJ London

    Man you really eat up the Israeli BS,

    So they have a “Grad” with no launcher, no aiming system and only a single fire capacity. To achieve anything, you heed multiple rocket launcher and multiple systems.

    Oh yes the naughty Iranians sent them rockets, maybe even NOOKLAR ones. We should get someone to bomb Tehran.

    No no it was the Syrians, can we go bomb them too?

    Go back to reading your Guardian and other MSM shill sheets.

    PS I notice you did not provide a source for your ” the vast majority of weapons “, as I thought just BS that you made up.

  • PJ London

    “when men from Gaza ” yes, Israeli men looking to set up a fight between Palis and Egyptians, it worked.
    What was that motto again, “Make war by deception” who could that be?

  • PJ London

    Oh wow, a military man! That makes you an expert in what exactly?
    AK 47s are imported!
    Ammunition is imported!
    Anti tank weapons (all 4 of them) are imported!
    The Israeli military said 10,000 rockets – some tens are imported.
    The Israeli military claims to have destroyed the Rocket “Factories”.
    Your “sources” are as full of C**p as you are. (What exactly are they, voices in your head?)
    The Israeli did not need an anti tank missile to kill two palestinian teens, they used .556 bullets. Then of course they lied and said it wasn’t us, even though the video clearly shows the rounds.
    Please don’t tell me, let me guess, “You are the only SEAL-Ranger-Airborne-Marine Sniper in the whole of the USA”

  • Pounce

    “yes, Israeli men looking to set up a fight between Palis and Egyptians, it worked.”

    Really, and the fact all the attackers were killed and found to be…Islamic terrorists doesn’t register with you.

  • Pounce

    Please don’t tell me, let me guess, “You are the only SEAL-Ranger-Airborne-Marine Sniper in the whole of the USA”

    Err, who said i was American, I’m not. and nobody uses a .556 round (we don’t call the bullets) and there is no such thing as a .556 calibre do you mean 5.56. sorry to correct you yet again, but that is the calibre of the NATO round, an AK47 uses a 7.62 short round (7.62 x39 )but I think you’d be hard pressed to wield an AKM from the front seat of a Hyundai i-3 (the car used to pick up those 3 (not 2) boys. The boys were shot dead whilst in the back seats, I think you’d be better off looking at a pistol. (9mm??)
    Want to try again.

  • Pounce

    PS I notice you did not provide a source for your ” the vast majority of weapons “, as I thought just BS that you made up.
    If you are unable to use the titles of the news papers I emboldened in black in which to search for what I posted verbatim from them, It only highlights the weakness of your claim which appears to be based on explosive emotive content and not fact

  • PJ London

    Boy you really are a Dumb*ss, That was YOUR quote you idiot.

    No source, just your stupid statement.

    “Sorry to disagree, but the vast majority of weapons used by Hamas are bought. The home made tag only go to support their self imposed victim status.”

    No source just opinion.

  • PJ London

    No they were shot from the rooftop by an Israeli “soldier” using a an Israeli weapon

    THE GUARDIAN

    ” the evidence points to the conclusion that the two teenagers were between 200 and 250 metres from the soldiers who shot them – allegedly with live fire – and were not involved in throwing stones at the time of their deaths.”

    As you like the Guardian.

    As for your expertise, Nowhere did I say that the teens were shot by AK47, it was likely although not stated, (seeing as they were Israeli troops ) that it was an ARM Galil.

    Yes it should have been 5.56.

    The (modern) AK 47 uses a 5.45 x 39 round.

    In my dictionary, the “Round” refers to the cartridge where as the “bullet” refers to the projectile and does not include the case, powder and primer.

    PS the standard NATO infantry round is 5,56 x 45 replacing the 7,62 x 51 sometime in the 1970s.

    Your sources, like your reading skills and military knowledge are dubious.

    Please read the comment before replying in future.

  • PJ London

    And all the 911 attackers were identified. Many of them alive and well.

  • Pounce

    Richard Edward wrote:
    The (modern) AK 47 uses a 5.45 x 39 round.
    Do your research please before posting
    The AK47 uses a 7.62 short round
    the AK74 uses the 5.45 round
    and the AK 101 uses the 5.56 round as used by NATO. However and a big however the AK47 in use in the ME and third world all use the 7.62 short round,.

    PS the standard NATO infantry round is 5,56 x 45 replacing the 7,62 x 51 sometime in the 1970s.
    Really want to point out when in the 70s , NATO countries started swapping, only one country did the US, the rest didn’t until the very late 80s and early 90s. Myself I didn’t swap over to the 5.56 round until 1989, but didn’t fire the new round until 1991.
    Your sources, like your reading skills and military knowledge are dubious.
    Silly me a spotty Richard Edward who quotes Wiki. Yeah right.

  • Pounce

    Richard Edward wrote:
    No they were shot from the rooftop by an Israeli “soldier” using a an Israeli weapon…THE GUARDIAN

    So let me get this right, I quote the Guardian and you say my information source is debatable you quote it and it is fact. Tell me again how this works?

  • Pounce

    Richard Edward wrote:
    Boy you really are a Dumb*ss, That was YOUR quote you idiot.
    Really?
    PJ London > Pounce • 2 days ago

    Man you really eat up the Israeli BS,

    So they have a “Grad” with no launcher, no aiming system and only a single fire capacity. To achieve anything, you heed multiple rocket launcher and multiple systems.

    Oh yes the naughty Iranians sent them rockets, maybe even NOOKLAR ones. We should get someone to bomb Tehran.

    No no it was the Syrians, can we go bomb them too?

    Go back to reading your Guardian and other MSM shill sheets.

    PS I notice you did not provide a source for your ” the vast majority of weapons “, as I thought just BS that you made up.

    You were saying?

  • PJ London

    “Pounce PJ London • 2 days ago

    The “Rockets” are manufactured in garages and have little to no explosive warheads with crude fuses and detonators.

    Sorry to disagree, but the vast majority of weapons used by Hamas are bought.”

    Your post directly above mine, to which I was responding!

    You were saying?

    Why not give up, you are out of your depth.

  • PJ London

    You are right of course, Silly me, However almost no-one except “Military Experts” refer to the AK74 and the terminology is interchangeable among the hundreds of thousands of users. Probably 60% of the AK47s referred to in the press and media are in fact AK74s (or clones) , but modern usage … Not to mention the fact that other countries manufacturing AK lookalike, called AKs are in 5.56 calibre. China, Bulgaria, Romania, Egypt et al, ask someone about “Type 56″, or PK8 and they will not know that it is a clone. They call them all AK47

    “In 1977, NATO members signed an agreement to select a second, smaller caliber cartridge to replace the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.[7] Of the cartridges tendered, the 5.56×45mm NATO was successful”

    You were later probably because the you were using the SA80?.

    Took forever to develop, and wasn’t very good. However, “The SA80 is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. It is a selective fire, gas-operated assault rifle. Elements of its design, in particular the bullpup configuration, come from the earlier EM-2 rifle. The first prototypes were trialled in 1976.”

    That is right 1976.

    The south African R4 was issued in 1980 and the Galil even before that. By 1982 it was the SA standard infantry rifle. You guys were just behind the times with trying to get the Bullpup to work. Crap design, can only eject to the right, so people cannot use the left shoulder to aim, and have no protection if firing from left side of cover.

  • Pounce

    The first prototypes were trialled in 1976.”
    What part of prototype don’t you understand, the fact remains the weapon in question didn’t start getting rolled out until the late 80s. However something happened a few years back, the British sent in H&K to have a look at the weapon and they came out with the A2 variant. It really is a much better weapon and in battle has proven itself time and time again. Ok its taken them over 25 years to come out with it. But hey don’t knock it until you fire it.

    P.S
    You mentioned the R4 and the Galil , well actually not are they the same weapon (the former is built under licence) the latter is based on the AK47. Oh and by the way the IDF are replacing the Galil with the Tavor, very nice.

  • Pounce

    Why are you trying to confuse matters with conflating everything. You sir have been caught out left,right and centre and in order to deflect, you ink the conversation and then scuttle off into the little hole you feel safe behind in as only the cephalopod (Spineless) creature you are.

  • PJ London

    No you are the lying hiding idiot, you use a phrase and then claim that it was mine, you are too stupid to see the evidence in front of your eyes.
    Using fancy words that you do not understand only displays your ignorance.

  • PJ London

    Duh yes, they are “the same weapon” both 5.56 variants of the (that is right) AK47. See, even you use AK47 rather than “based on the AK74″
    Thank you for proving my point.

  • Pounce

    See, even you use AK47 rather than “based on the AK74″

    Lets look at the above logically shall we:
    1) The AK 47 was introduced in 1948
    2) the Galil in 1972
    3) The R4 in 1980

    The AK74 didn’t come into service until 1978 and then only with the third shock army elements of the Russian Army.

    Now if the IDF brought the Galil into service in 1972, then its logical to say that it was derived from the AK47 and AKM family which came into service in the late 40s, than from the AK74 which didn’t arrive until 6 years after the Galil.

  • Pounce

    PJ London wrote:
    No you are the lying hiding idiot, you use a phrase and then claim that it was mine, you are too stupid to see the evidence in front of your eyes.
    Using fancy words that you do not understand only displays your ignorance.

    I do love how when you have been caught out with plain facts, that you throw aspersions, abuse and conflate the thread in which to try and hide the fact , that you are basically talking crap.

  • PJ London

    You used the phrase “Sorry to disagree, but the vast majority of weapons used by Hamas are bought. ”
    Then when I dispute the facts, you claim that I was the first to use it. You then accuse me of conflating facts when I point out the truth.
    I cannot understand what kind of person are you. Other than a deliberate liar, hiding his errors by pointing fingers at the opponent.
    Disgusting lack of ethics.

  • Pounce

    Have you noticed how in the thread your argument base has dwindled in size. I have disproved with facts everything that you scream out about Israel. Rather than Israel being the belligerent, I have opened your eyes to the fact, that Hamas is at fault. Instead of trying to debate honestly and logically you have used scorn and abuse. That is how people like you work, you scream,scream and scream some more with the mindset that those who scream loudest can only be right. Sorry but I don’t play by those rules and I have no problem replying with the basic facts in which to show the world the facts. Hey I’m not saying that Israel is right in what they do, but I know one thing, they have more right than the murderous thugs of Hamas (read Sunni Islam) in taking the moral highground.

    I’ve forgotten more about the military world than you will ever know, and I really enjoy exposing arrogant people for the sham they are.

  • PJ London

    As I thought a paid Hasbara
    A lying paid Hasbara
    Goodbye shill

  • Pounce

    Richard Edward wrote:
    As I thought a paid Hasbara
    A lying paid Hasbara
    Goodbye shill

    As always when trying to debate with somebody with a single braincell. When faced with facts, it resorts to abuse.

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