Friday, January 17, 2014

Iron Dome Economics: why the Palestinians will keep firing

Following on from yesterday's posting about the Iron Dome intercepting 5 rockets directed at Ashkelon, I've done a quick analysis of the economics of what happened (and bear in mind that this is now a regular event - and that the Israeli response is always the same so you can think of this multipled many times):
  • Palestinians launch 7 rockets at Ashkelon: depending on the range, these cost between $800 and $6000 - so let's say an average of $3000 (paid for of course by the EU taxpayer). 
  • Israel knocks out 5 of the rockets using the Iron Dome: total cost (excluding operational costs) $500,000  (based on $50,000 cost for each interceptor fired and assuming 10 were fired). 
  • The IAF then launches 4 guided missiles (cost $200,000 each) to destroy some empty wooden sheds in Gaza fields when no people are near (cost of each shed about $50). 
So we have:
  • Total cost of the operation to the Palestinians (by which I really mean EU taxpayers) is $21,200 with no degradation to the Palestinian quality of life.
  • Total cost to Israel of missiles alone is $1.3million. But, of course, the lives of at least one million Israelis are also seriously disrupted (I have reported previously on this negative aspect of relying on the Iron Dome; see also here).  For example, all schools in the South of Israel are shut down during such attacks; moreover, today the Jerusalem Post reports that all unfortified schools in the Ashdod area will be permanently closed down (note that schools in all areas south of Ashdod are, I believe, already fortified, but until recently Ashdod was considered 'out of range' of Gaza missiles - it is just 18 miles south of Tel Aviv).
Given the mentality and objectives of the Palestinians of Gaza, does anybody think that (in their eyes) attacking Israel is anything other than a win-win situation?

7 October 2014 update: The cost of a single interceptor missile is apparently $100,000 not $50,000.

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