The use of weaponized kites and balloons in the Israeli – Palestinian conflict
Joanna Zych 1  
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Faculty of National Security War Studies University, Warsaw, Poland
Online publish date: 2019-04-21
The aim of this paper is to analyse the use of weaponised incendiary kites and helium balloons in the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities between March and December 2018. The paper argues that arson started with incendiary kites and balloons can easily be exploited for terrorist purposes and poses a serious challenge for regular armed forces and for civilian emergency services.

The paper examines the Palestinian ‘Great March of Return’ as a background for the development of a new Hamas’ tactic and briefly describes the chronology of arson terrorism in the context of other hostilities at the Gaza-Israeli border. The study focuses on the two following questions: why are the kites and balloons useful for the current goals of Hamas and how do the Israelis respond to this new threat? The study uses comparative scientific literature and document analysis, the analysis of statements released by the Israeli authorities and the Israeli media reports related to the arson attacks.

The main findings include the role of simple, non-lethal weapons in spreading fear for terrorist purposes and the advantages of turning everyday-use materials into weapons in a situation where there is limited access to regular arms. The second part of the study deals with the effects of arson attacks on the Israeli side of the conflict and the countermeasures undertaken in the Gaza Periphery. The author concludes that airborne arson attacks pose a serious threat to advanced Israeli defence systems, solely because of their primitive and unpredictable character.

The overall findings of this paper present the threat of arson terrorism in the context of an asymmetric conflict.

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