Back in January 2008, the German newspaper, Der Speigel published an article covering the Qassam rocket production in Gaza. Ulrike Putz, the author of the article interviewed several Palestinians in the midst of their building rockets and stirring away explosives. One Palestinian, Abdul, explained that his night job involves building rockets for the Palestinian terror network, Islamic Jihad, while during the day he is a geography student. Abdul, 22 at the time of the article, began producing rockets for Palestinian Islamic Jihad when he 19.
I believe that the article offers significant insight into why the recent ceasefire with Hamas which began on June 21, and has completely disintegrated since early November, never stood the chance of lasting in the first place.
It is people like Abdul and those who finance his operations that make Palestinian terrorism against innocent Sderot civilians possible for the long term. Although the Der Speigel article referred to the rockets as ‘rudimentary’, and unsophisticated, the fact of the matter remains that these rockets are powerful enough to destroy Sderot and Negev homes, damage property, and psychologically terrorize Israeli children and families.
The article, typical of coverage of Gaza rocket productions by the international media, does not mention once the goal behind the firing Qassam and mortar rockets against Israeli civilians.
In an interview with former Hamas foreign minister, Mahmoud A-Zahar on August 21, 2007 (as appears on the Israeli Foreign Ministry website), the Hamas foreign minister highlights the goals of Palestinian rocket fire: “rockets against Sderot will cause mass migration, greatly disrupt daily lives and government administration.” He states that rockets have a much larger impact on the government than suicide bombings. “We are using the methods that convince the Israelis that their occupation is costing them too much. We are succeeding with the rockets. We have no losses and the impact on the Israeli side is so much.”
In the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is crucial as a reporting journalist to keep the ideological goals of the Hamas government in mind.
When Abdul states at the end of the article that he is sad when an Israeli child is wounded by rocket fire and that he prefers to hit Israeli soldiers, one wonders if this is really the case. The fact that these Qassam rockets are aimed at Sderot and other civilian populated areas in Israel, rather than army bases, clearly serves to disprove his claim. The psychological terror that Palestinian rockets generate among innocent Israelis every time they are fired into Israeli territory– is in fact the very reason why Islamic Jihad, PRC, Hamas among other Palestinian terror groups continue to use rockets as weapons against Israeli civilians. The reporter would have done well to point out that the recipients of rocket fire and those who generally suffer most– are Israeli children living close to the Gaza border and as far as Ashkelon.
However the article does offer some useful information into the production of Qassam rockets and what will lay in store for Israelis living in the southern end of the country. First, the article makes the point that the smuggling tunnels between the Gaza and Egyptian border “ensure that there is never a lack of supplies” for the production of rockets. In addition, Abul himself says that there are enough raw materials for the rockets to last for a few years.
Abdul also enlightens the readers with information regarding what countries the rocket material originates. He explains that the TNT comes from Sudan through Egypt, while other materials arrive by boat across the sea to Gaza. He even mentions Eastern Europe as another location for raw materials for rocket productions. Ironically, Abdul says that the fertilizer for the rocket fuel comes from Israel.
One of most interesting points involved the financial cost of rocket production. According to Abdul, producing one large rocket costs around 500 euros, which roughly translates to 640 US dollars.
Although the production of rockets is certainly not cheap, the Der Speigel reporter quotes Abdul calling his work as a rocket builder ‘child’s play.” This child’s play entails a team of 12 Palestinian men who can make up to 100 rockets per night shift. The work entails also several steps. The first step begins with welding the rocket casings together from metal pipes. Another team fills the rocket warhead with three kilograms of TNT. The final step involves a highly explosive mixture of glucose, fertilizer and other kilometers which propels rockets to reach distances of up to nine kilometers. The rocket explodes on impact thanks to a detonator cap, which Abdul inserts into the rocket.
What is child’s play for Abdul in Gaza is a cruel game of fear and panic for Israeli children living in Sderot. Although Sderot children may not be the personal targets of Abdul as he claims, they and the innocent Israeli families of the Negev and now Ashkelon, are paying a heavy psychological price for Palestinian terrorism. Finally, there is another overlooked phenomena-while most college students around the world spend their time partying, studying, and saving the environment, college students like Abdul are being robbed of a normal college life. When Islamic Jihad recruits Palestinian college students and pays them to build rockets, one can only wonder if the rocket fire will ever stop-and if this absurd reality that exists on the Israel-Gaza border will ever change
To read the original article by Ulrike Putz: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,531578,00.html.