Jun. 21, 2018
- The effectiveness of Palestinian suicide bombings during the Second Intifada came to an end after Israel reconquered Area A in the Palestinian Authority in 2002, with nearly daily penetrations and arrests of would-be terrorists since then.
- The destruction of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad sanctuaries that enabled them to plan elaborate suicide bombings – coupled with the smashing of its human infrastructure through incessant arrests of its operatives – considerably reduced their capabilities.
- The decline in suicide bombings was followed by the spectacular rise from 2004 in missile launchings and by continuous improvement in the payload they carried and in the distance they traversed, directly affecting hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians who lived in major cities.
- As confirmed by the third bout between Hamas and Israel in the summer of 2014, missile terrorism became less effective over time due to Israel’s technological developments. In 2014, only two of the 72 Israeli deaths during the 55 days of fighting resulted from missile launchings.
- By then, Hamas had figured out that tunnel attacks could become a major substitute for missile launchings. But tunnel terrorism has also been essentially foiled by technological developments.
- It is against the backdrop of the never-ending quest to find substitutes to increasingly ineffective terrorist measures that Hamas’ innovation of kite terrorism can be understood. Presently, the results are merely destructive rather than lethal.
The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at its BESA Center for Strategic Studies.