Israel’s Novel “See-Shoot” Electronic Device Is No Substitute for Human Deterrence

It was not supposed to happen. Three Palestinian terrorist groups broke through Israeli border fortifications from Gaza in broad daylight and raided an Israeli military position near the key Kissufim crossing Saturday, June 9. Their mission: to kill and kidnap Israeli troops.
Their mission failed. The IDF claims the position was unmanned and only a decoy. And troops on the spot quickly fought back and drove the invaders off. Still, it was chillingly close to the events which plunged Israel into deep crisis barely a year ago. On June 25, 2006, Palestinian Hamas-led cross-border raiders kidnapped Gilead Shalit; shortly after, on July 12, the Lebanese Hizballah infiltrated northern Israel near Zarit and snatched Gilead Shalit and Ehud Goldwasser.
None of the three missing Israel servicemen has been heard of since.
Israel’s policy-makers and military chiefs have sworn that the shortcoming which made enemy incursions possible on two national borders had been fixed and would not recur. If that is so, how come a band of heavily armed Palestinians were able to cross the fortified Gazan border – not by tunnels, as did Hamas last year, or under cover of darkness, but by driving an armored jeep disguised as a TV truck?
The fact is that gunmen shooting RPGs, automatic weapons and hand grenades breached the border fence, undetected either by electronic warning systems or Israel patrols manning its perimeter.
This is doubly disturbing, especially after Israel’s failure to halt the massive Hamas-led massive missile-mortar onslaught on Israeli towns and communities for almost a month.
debkafile‘s military sources report these findings:
1. The raid indicated a decision by a broad-based Palestinian coalition – Hamas, Jihad Islami, Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades and Popular Resistance Committees – to patch up their differences for a dangerous escalation of their warfare against Israel. The Olmert government’s mild military responses have persuaded them that Israeli military targets as well as civilian locations across the border are fair game. Although no one was killed or kidnapped this time, according to the IDF spokesman, it is a dangerous augury, as was confirmed a few hours after the attack by the Fatah-Al Aqsa Brigades spokesman:
“The raid,” he said, “is only the first of a series of attacks that will target IDF as well as civilian objectives.”
After the incident, Palestinians in Gaza shelled Israel with mortars for more than seven hours.
2. Israeli ministers have been wracking their brains for weeks for measures to reduce missile attacks on Sderot and its environs, without sending ground troops into Gaza to finally destroy Palestinian terrorist strongholds and their accumulating arms dumps.
They finally decided to install a novel albeit unfinished automatic device called the See-Shoot system, our military sources reveal, to partly reinforce the 60-km Israel-Gaza border fence.
Produced by the Israel Armament Development Authority Rafael as a defensive system, See-Shoot uses sensors, aerial drones and surveillance aircraft to feed data to fortified command centers which transmit them to towers from which weapons automatically open fire on approaching targets.
The system is the brainchild of chief of staff Lt. Gen Gaby Ashkenazi and his predecessor Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz.
Three weeks ago, Ashkenazi requested and was authorized to install the new system after receiving a warning from military intelligence that a Palestinian kill-and-kidnap assault like the one attempted Saturday, June 9, was plotted.
See-Shoot was designed to stop a raid of this kind in its tracks.
Long-range, remote controlled automatic fire was also supposed to hit missile shooters deep inside Gaza before they got anywhere near targeting range close to the border.
A second-line defense was also installed, according to debkafile‘s military sources: IDF armored vehicles deployed in the Gaza sector have been equipped with Rafael RCWS-30 and Elbit ORCWS devices, which bounce an image of the surrounding terrain from RWS sensors to computer screens in their vehicles.
On Saturday, neither the See-Shoot nor the sensor systems did the jobs for which they were designed. The raiders breached the border fence unharmed and the soldiers on the Israel side were taken unawares. The Palestinian attackers failed in their objective this time. They also showed up a fatal defect in the hi-tech gadgets in which the IDF is placing its trust.
The same lesson was evident last July 2006, when the Hizballah band which abducted two Israeli soldiers crossed into Israel undetected by the sensors planted on the Lebanese side of the border and spent some days in hiding before their attack.

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