The IDF investigation into the Beit Hanun massacre in which 18 civilians were killed in their beds claims to have revealed the root cause of the accident according to Haaretz. But in doing so it raises new questions:
A component in the targeting radar of the artillery battery – an electronic card that was replaced five days earlier – turned out to be faulty and fed the battery with incorrect target data.
As a result, even though the battery received the correct target coordinates, in practice, the average distortion in the radar stood at 200 meters.
While the gunners were certain they were shelling a specific location, seven of the 11 shells fired in a salvo landed inside a built-up area, 450 meters south of the original target.
Ok, you have a failed component causing 200 meters distortion in targeting. So how do seven of the eleven shells fired end up 450 meters off target?? Riddle me that, Maj. Gen. Khalifi.
And after reading this, let me ask another question:
The IDF is now considering changes to procedure in two ways: require that a live fire test be carried out every time the component is replaced; and use a human observer on every target, who will operate alongside the radar system.
This statement would indicate that after replacing a key component which is necessary for accurate targeting there is no firing test to determine whether the replacement part is working properly. Does this make sense? If there is something wrong with a file or plugin in my blog installation and I install a new version, do I just assume it’s going to work properly? I’d be a numbskull if I did. As they say in Hebrew, al achat kama v’kama (“all the more so”) when there are lives at stake.
And finally, in this blog I’ve excoriated the IDF for their preposterously small margin of error for firing in densely populated Palestinian areas like Gaza:
Peretz said the policy of using artillery fire in the Gaza Strip needs to be reevaluated, especially the distance limits set for the shelling of civilian areas.
In the past year these limits were dropped from 300 meters to 100 meters, and then raised again to 200 meters. Some generals believe this is an insufficient safety limit.
100 meters is 300 feet! Even at 600 feet (200 meters) who can you guarantee you will not err? In fact, IDF artillery has often killed innocent civilians in their homes in precisely this type of accident.