The most closely guarded building in Israel isn’t the Knesset building, the Western Wall or IDF headquarters. It’s not the prime minister’s house, the central bank or the home of the Mossad intelligence agency. In fact it’s a research institute at Dimona in the Negev desert. Dimona is where Israel designs and produces her ultimate deterrent, the striking force of nuclear-tipped missiles that guarantee the Jewish state’s ability to strike back against any new Holocaust. Because Israel’s best brains and most powerful weapons are there Dimona is ringed by the best technology the country can deploy and protected by an elite guard force of specially trained commandos. It’s almost immune to attack.
Amazingly, though, that hasn’t stopped Hamas from trying. As fighting escalates in Gaza after the gruesome tit-for-tat murders of three Israeli and one Arab teenagers the rocket-happy terrorist group has begun launching its heaviest missiles at the Dimona complex. Luckily Hamas’s arsenal of surface to surface missiles are crude Iranian designs; their guidance systems are primitive – they can barely hit a town – and they don’t carry sophisticated penetration aids like a modern western (or Israeli) ICBM does. They’re easy targets for the Iron Dome missile defense system that watches the skies over Dimona for any incoming warhead. On July 9 three missiles were detected heading for the complex and Iron Dome shot them down. So how serious was the threat?
Hamas rockets carry conventional explosive warheads, and the chances of them doing real damage to a structure as massively strong as Dimona’s reactor vessel or weapon storage bunkers is very small. They might be able to shut the facility down for days or even weeks with a lucky hit, but there’s little real chance of them causing a nuclear accident. Of course the worst case is a rocket that destroys the reactor and scatters its radioactive fuel over most of central Israel and while the odds of that are slim there’s always the chance of an unlucky hit. Hamas know that and they’re willing to target the facility anyway. That’s a clear violation of the laws of war – not just the UN’s rule son nuclear terrorism, which bans releasing radioactive material, but a section of the Geneva Conventions that protects dams, nuclear power stations and any other structure whose destruction would unleash uncontrollable forces. Hamas have made themselves into war criminals.
It’s possible to argue about the rights and wrongs of Israel’s actions but when it comes to what Hamas just did there can be no argument; it’s a crime against humanity. There are no circumstances where it’s okay to blow up a nuclear reactor and turn hundreds of square miles into an irradiated wasteland, and that’s what these fanatics just tried to do. This isn’t a legitimate military response – it’s nuclear terrorism on the grand scale, and a message needs to be sent – enough is enough. As soon as Hamas or anyone else start playing nuclear games it becomes the world’s problem, and the US military can – and should – act to remove the threat. If Hamas launch any more rockets at Dimona they should be deprived of their rockets. In fact it would be better to start bombing their stockpiles now. When they’re willing to so this, is it really smart to give them a second chance?