Senior Policy Director John Erath spoke with Newsweek about how munitions may affect Israel’s Iron Dome.
“The Iron Dome was designed to defend against the proximate threat to Israel in the last 20 years or so, which is Hamas firing rockets from Gaza and other places on to Israeli territory,” John Erath, the senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told Newsweek via phone. “So, it’s designed to work against ballistic things.
“Guided munitions, by definition, are not ballistic. It’s not what the Iron Dome is optimized to stop.”
Erath said that while the Iron Dome has shown positive results to defend against drones, for example, it remains unclear what kind of munitions Hezbollah would hypothetically be using to target Israel. Hezbollah gets its systems from Iran.
The question of continued escalation could be determined by Hezbollah’s intent, he added.
“If Hezbollah shoots anything at them, the Israelis will shoot back,” Erath said. “That’s happened before, that’s a given. The thing to watch is what Hezbollah would do with guided munitions. As the name suggests, guided munitions are designed to hit specific targets. They’re what you would use to strike a military outpost or base or some kind of target. They’re not like what Hamas has typically used to fire in Israeli cities, which is a weapon of terror.
“So, if Hezbollah is acting in support of a military ally, in a military sense, then it would be using these things to target military targets in Israel. If they’re firing them indiscriminately at Israeli cities, that’s not what these things are designed for. They’re being used as weapons of terror and that’s basically a war crime.”