Israel Reconsiders Deployment of Rocket Protection System Near Gaza Border

Israel may station two batteries in the Negev after coming under heavy criticism from Israeli public.

In light of harsh criticism from the Israeli public, Israel's defense establishment has announced that it may reconsider its policy regarding the Iron Dome missile defense system, created by Israel to counter rockets from Gaza. A final decision regarding whether the Israel Defense Forces will station two batteries in the Negev will be made public in the near future.

This past February Haaretz reported that the IDF said it had no intention of permanently deploying the Iron Dome system to protect the southern Israel city of Sderot against rocket attacks, causing uproar throughout the country.

An illustration of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems LTD.

The IDF stated that it planned to leave the Iron Dome batteries on a Southern air force base and would only use the missile defense system in the event of intense escalation. This went against initial IDF commitments, promising to use the system to protect Sderot residents from incoming Qassams.

Last month the High Court announced that it will look into the appeal from residents of communities near the Gaza border and city council heads from the Negev who have implored the State and the IDF to uphold its promise to deploy Iron Dome for their protection.

The Iron Dome project has been delayed due to both technical as well as financial difficulties. Last month some problems were found with the operation of the Iron Dome system, however, reports have shown that these were no more than minor mishaps.

A larger issue is that of funding; although United States President Barack Obama has promised to give Israel 205 million dollars to assist with Iron Dome, the US budget is yet to be approved-as is the aid to Israel. The earliest possible approval will be in March of this year.