Region of Concern: Israel; Palestine
Written By Beatrice Cirrone; Edited by Cameron Munoz and Jennifer Loy
Date: April 3, 2023
Israeli Air Force Fighter Jets
Event: On April 3, Israeli Defense Force (IDF) fighter jets intercepted a Hamas drone over the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities shot down the Shehab-type drone, designed for suicide attacks, before it crossed Israeli airspace and threatened Israeli security. Hamas’ military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has confirmed the downing of its drone during a military drill and responded by firing several surface-to-air missiles at Israeli fighter aircraft. No damage or casualties were reported. The event comes amid rising tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the aftermath of an alleged Iranian-origin drone downing in Israel near the Syrian border.
Significance: This event will likely push Israel’s government to invest in greater military technology, like short-range air-to-air missiles and ground-based laser systems, near the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government will likely intensify F-15 and F-16 air drills to improve its capacity to detect threats against Israeli airspace. Hamas will likely engage in high-profile attacks to exploit the current social and political instability in Israel. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades will very likely perform new military exercises near Israeli airspace, pushing Israel to an assertive strike response during the Ramadan period. Hamas will likely increase the use of drones to attack and spy on Israeli military equipment and troop deployment. The use of Iranian drones in Syria will likely benefit Hamas by weakening Israeli retaliation capabilities and reducing IDF troops' deployment in the Gaza Strip.
Recommendations: The Israeli government should intensify checks on materials entering the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons smuggling and limit Hamas drone production. IDF should invest more resources in drone interception systems and monitor the UAV capabilities of Hamas forces. President Netanyahu should call for dialogues with Palestinian political authorities for de-escalation. The international community should undertake diplomatic measures to condemn the military escalation and ensure the safe observance of Ramadan for Muslim citizens. The Israeli government should pursue a counteroffensive policy based on using such weapons and intensified intelligence activities to reduce the violence. Israeli political authorities should maintain the status quo to prevent Hamas attacks from further economic and social destabilization after the massive protests.
 Hamas' Shahab-type drone intercepted over Gaza by IDF fighter jet, i24NEWS, April 2023, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/defense/1680512235-unidentified-aircraft-intercepted-over-gaza-by-idf-fighter-jet
 Israeli forces kill two West Bank gunmen, down Hamas drone over Gaza, Reuters, April 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-forces-kill-two-palestinians-west-bank-gunfight-medics-says-2023-04-03/