Michael Armstrong, Associate Professor of Operations Research in Brock’s Goodman School of Business, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about rising tensions at the Gaza-Israel border.
Many Canadians and Americans are enjoying the fireworks in the sky this week. But Israelis are instead worrying about other kinds of aerial fireworks.
Since April, Palestinian protesters have been flying fire-carrying kites and balloons across the Gaza-Israel border to set fields and forests ablaze. They’ve also launched Gaza’s first significant rocket attacks since 2014.
These events are reminders that Israel and Gaza are only one incident away from war. If full-blown conflict were to erupt, recent research suggests Israel’s defences would minimize its casualties. However, Israel could not completely stop the attacks or their financial drain.
Kites versus quadcopters
The weaponized kites resemble children’s toys floating in the sky. But they carry burning charcoal or oil-soaked rags across the Israel-Gaza border to ignite fires wherever they land.
These unplayful toys are increasingly sophisticated. Some now include time fuses that delay ignition until they cross the border. A few carry explosives instead of fire. Helium-filled balloons and condoms are replacing some kites because they fly farther into Israel.
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