In military lingo, they call it “asymmetric warfare,” or the “enemy” using tactics that do not correspond in size, force and technology to those tactics used on them - tactics that cause powerful militaries great problems from militia or insurgent forces equipped with simple and inexpensive, but effective, weapons and techniques. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, asymmetric warfare centers on Iraqi and Afghan “insurgents” using powerful, but unsophisticated, roadside bombs against the tanks, armored personnel carriers and humvees of the United States military. In the case of Gaza, it is Palestinians using homemade unguided rockets (and infrequently more sophisticated rockets from Iran), rocks and horses against U.S. supplied F-16 jet fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, tanks, D9 Caterpiller bulldozers, naval bombardment and white phosphorus and dense inert metal explosive (DIME) bombs, drones and surveillance balloons of the Israeli military.
Those in Gaza who have fired missiles at nearby Israeli towns and attack Israeli military posts on the border, have essentially used “pea shooters” against the Israeli military, the largest and most powerful military in the region, funded and equipped by the United States in a $3 billion annual military aid program. The Israeli military received 3,000 tons of arms and weapons from the United States in December, 2009 to replenish the Israeli military as it smashed the people in Gaza in its 22 day attack and occupation of Gaza. In contrast to the Israeli military supply line directly to the United States government and military contractors, Gaza is dependent for its supplies on a network of tunnels under the Egyptian border. These tunnels provide food and supplies to its 1.5 million population jammed into a territory 25 miles long and 5 miles wide. No doubt some weapons come through the tunnels to military groups, but the overwhelming use of the tunnels is to bring supplies to the beleaguered people caged in the open air prison called Gaza. The international community justifies the siege and blockade as a technique to stem the flow of weapons into Gaza and reduce the rocket attacks on the border towns in Israel that have killed about 30 people in the past 5 years.
In fact, the blockade is collective punishment of the people of Gaza for democratically electing Hamas to run the government of Gaza after the Palestinian Authority failed miserably at providing sufficient funding and attention to the people of Gaza. The U.S. and other countries have placed Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations because of rocket attacks on Israel and are blockading Gaza while Hamas is in power. Asymmetric warfare in Gaza took an interesting twist in June, 2009. Confronting the powerful Israeli military machine, militants in Gaza on June 8, 2009 attempted a low tech method to breach a barrier on the Gaza-Israeli border. In the early morning fog, they reportedly placed explosives onto several horses and sent them into border area where the explosives blew up killing the horses, but failing to breach the fence.
The June 8, 2009 edition of the Jerusalem Post in an article titled “After foiled Gaza attack, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) says Hamas risking another Gaza offensive,” reported “Under the cover of morning fog, some 10 gunmen staged a failed assault at the Karni cargo crossing into Gaza on Monday, in which horses laden with explosives were used.” The report said that at least four “terrorists” and a number of their horses were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire with the IDF. No IDF soldiers were wounded. The report said that the group belonged to the Janud Ansar Allah (Soldiers Loyal to Allah) organization, linked to Iran and Hizbullah. A security source quoted in the article added, “Hamas did not carry out this attack but they certainly provide general coverage for these small groups.” The source said, “These terrorists were armed with a huge quantity of explosives. They launched a combined attack, using mortars, and attempted to approach the border fence with booby-trapped horses to harm our soldiers, before firing on our force.” Members of the cell, some of whom had suicide-bomb belts strapped around their bodies, led the horses off of trucks and began placing bombs along the fence. The soldiers returned fire and called for backup. At first, tanks were dispatched to the scene, and fired at the terrorists. Air force helicopter gunships then joined the battle.
“We are slowly beginning to understand the magnitude of [the threat from the Gaza Strip]," the security source said. 8 days later, on June 16, 2009, the Jerusalem post reported on another type of “animal” that would be used in warfare. This time the combat animal was to be a “mule,” but nothing like their cousins the horses used by militants in Gaza. The Israeli “MULE” is a Medical Evacuation Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, an unmanned helicopter, can deliver supplies weighing up to 700 pounds and land and take off without a pilot to ferry casualties up to 50 miles within a battle zone.
The Israeli military industrial complex has developed three new unmanned aerial military vehicles (UAV) which were on display this summer at the Paris Air Show. The other two UAVs include a self-destructing drone that “loiters above the battlefield” and attacks air defense systems. Gaza has no air defense systems unless one counts the kites flown by children. A second Israeli UAV on display was the Picador unmanned helicopter. While in Gaza in May, 2009, we heard of other remote controlled vehicles, including the huge D9 Caterpiller bulldozer used for house demolitions. A D9 Caterpiller bulldozer, operated by a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, six years ago, in March, 2003, ran over and killed American activist Rachel Corrie as she tried to stop the demolition of a home in the city of Rafah, Gaza. The Jerusalem Post also reported that the Israeli military has developed a six foot long robotic “snake” that can operate in tunnels, cracks and buildings and mimicking the movements of real snakes, while sending images and sound back to a soldier who controls the device through a laptop computer. The “snake” may also be capable of carrying explosives.
Every time we enter Gaza through the Rafah, Egypt crossing we see Israeli surveillance balloons with their cameras recording every movement in Gaza. Sometimes in Gaza you see a glint in the air, which certainly could be an Israeli drone ready to fire. And virtually every day, usually in the morning, you hear Israeli military shelling some place in Gaza.