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Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

Effective range of Kassam and Katyusha rockets.  (Source: Koret Communications Ltd.)
Residents in Sderot have had enough of rocket attacks and want the laser-based Nautilus system in place

DailyTech recently discussed the use of military-grade laser used as weapons in a number of articles. Boeing installed a 12,000-pound, high-energy laser into its C-130H Gunship and Northrop Grumman has similar "laser ambitions" with the Guardian anti-missile system installed in an MD-10 cargo jet.

While Americans are typically apathetic to the use of such technology for military duties, some residents in Israel are clamoring to have laser-based weapons as a safety net for their towns. Sderot residents have gone so far as to sue the Israeli government -- more specifically, they named Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as defendants in the civil suit.

The Sderot residents want the Israeli government to install the Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) system to protect the region from Kassam and Katyusha rockets. Sderot has been heavily bombarded with such rockets over the years which have resulted in numerous deaths. The residents feel that suing the government may be its only chance for protection against further attacks.

"Israel could bring the system to Sderot and use it to protect the people there from Kassam rockets," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner who heads the Israel Law Center which represents the Sderot residents. "In 1996, when Israel was under threat from Lebanon, Israel asked the United States to help them establish a system to protect northern settlements from Katyusha rockets. This system, called Nautilus, shot down Katyushas, Kassams and bombs with 100 percent success."

Unfortunately for the Sderot residents, the Nautilus program stalled in 2005 after ten years of development and $400 million USD spent between Israel and the United States. Since that time, rocket fire has increased which has led the Israeli government to develop yet another system dubbed "Iron Dome." The Iron Dome system will cost the government $100,000 for each incoming rocket it destroys – if it destroys them at all. Recent tests show that Iron Dome is incapable of protecting Sderot from incoming Kassam rockets.

"[Nautilus is] just sitting there in New Mexico. There is a way to take it apart, bring it to Israel and rebuild it," Darshan-Leitner continued. "A company told me that it would take no longer than five or six months. It would cost around 50 million dollars to rebuild it, but there would be unlimited protection against Katyushas, Kassams, and bombs."

Despite Darshan-Leitner's optimism of the performance of the Nautilus system -- she quotes an extremely optimistic 100 perfect effective rate -- a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry says that such claims are preposterous. "As long as there was a chance that the results would lead to a functional, effective missile defense system we stuck with the program. But in 2005 the US military backed out of the program because it wasn't working, and we decided to end our involvement as well," said spokesman Shlomo Dror.

Despite the concerns from Sderot residents, Dror tried to express that the government is working hard to provide protection for its citizens.

"There is no way to put a price tag on the trauma caused by living with the ongoing threat from, and even more for people injured or even killed by Kassam attacks, God forbid," said Dror. "We are spending as much as we need to in order to develop the most effective system we can to protect residents of Sderot and the entire western Negev region."

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RE: Peace
By abzillah on 3/13/2008 3:09:39 PM , Rating: -1
Being a hippy is part of my nature as a collage student.
This current problem started after WWII, and before that there was peace in the area since the crusades. Are you going to tell me that humans can't live with each other? Both people live next to each other and within each others communities, but they choose to keep themselves separate. We can argue all day about what is the cause of the conflict, but wouldn't it be better to put effort to understand what the problems are and work towards solving them? Why stop the symptoms of the problem and not fix the root cause? The attitude that peace will never exist in the middle east is a major reason why much diplomatic dialogue is not present.

RE: Peace
By mdogs444 on 3/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: Peace
By KristopherKubicki on 3/13/2008 4:06:22 PM , Rating: 5
Please see my post below in the other thread. There's the media version of what's going on, and then there's the actual version that shows up in history books, peace negotiations, etc. You're referring to the media version.

RE: Peace
By FITCamaro on 3/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: Peace
By cochy on 3/13/2008 4:29:57 PM , Rating: 5
No one was kicked out of anywhere. The Palestinians left on their own accord after the neighboring Arab nations told them that they are going to annihilate Israel and they should leave until the job is done. The resulting wars against the Arab nation were all handedly won by Israel. The Arabs who stayed are now all citizens of Israel with Arab representation in the parliament. The ones who left were kicked out of Jordan or Egypt or where ever they fled to and now rest in Gaza and the West bank.

RE: Peace
By derwin on 3/13/2008 5:27:01 PM , Rating: 4
"kicked out" is a very subjective term. Perhaps the leadership of palestine agreed due to pressure from their neigbhors, but i doubt the people who actually lived there, the citizens of palestine, agreed with this plan. Hence the sensation of being "kicked out." Perhaps their own gov't is to blame, but these people none the less feel as if they were removed from their home land.

Ask a native american who removed them from their land. Was it the US gov't or was it their leaders who agreed to the deals to sell the US land. I doubt many would blame their own leaders.

It is a subjective question, and the answer varies not just by what side of it you are on, but even by who you ask regardless of side.

In all fairness, I think a just world would not have given Isreal that land, but then again, in a just world, the Jews would have been protected from Hitler... and in a just world Hitler would not have rose to power... and I can go on. The matter of fact is that Isreal is where it is, and it is not going anywhere.

That statement has to mean both implyied meanings. It is not leaving, nor is it spreading out.

That is the one point that Isreal must take the high road on for anything to work. Religious values are not worth the lives of your citizens. Period. If taking more of the holy land costs you 1000 civilian deaths, just don't do it.

As for the other side, how does the extremist muslim side become quelled? That is the harder question. The US has in recent years tried a new solution "proactive war." Arguably it has reduced attacks again US facilities (beyond Iraq) and has given other extremist (not to neccisarily argue Sadam was anything of the sort, but I digress...) groups in the region a second thought if they intend to act beyond their boarders or against a civilian population. This strategy however may have untold consequences. What of those who's lives were ruined by the results of fighting due to US occupation? Will they blame Sadam for briging us here, or will they more likely blame us for being there? What will they do to retaliate? More than likely they will not take any action against us, out of both fear and civility, but I am sure of the thousands of lives ruined, there will be a hand full who will attempt to take action. What then?

This leaves us where we started. What to do about the at-best loosely affiliated and very feverant muslim groups?

I for one feel that killing them, even if an effective solution could not be the right one, so we still have some work to do.

RE: Peace
By os008 on 3/14/2008 3:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
Good point of view really, I've always tried comparing the Native Americans to the Palestinians, with an exception, Israelis actually were living in peace with Arabs, they weren't occupants. But they took advantage of the Arabs as soon as they got the green light.

Unfortunately, extremists will always make us look as if we're all terrorists. It's up to anyone to take a closer look and stop generalizing. Just an example ... KKK.

RE: Peace
By HrilL on 3/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: Peace
By os008 on 3/14/2008 3:45:09 AM , Rating: 2
We're not fighting anything currently, every single nation of us is in its own world, we're just taking the safe road and not actually doing anything effective (however you may interpret that is up to you).

There're no Holy Wars going on, we're just being passive, and seems to not consider uniting ourselves anytime soon, THAT's our main problem.

Plus, i would consider the Iraq war to be a holy war from the USA point of view, don't you think? You're freeing the people there from their oppressor in the name of ... freedom?! (I won't go into the real motivation for the Iraq war here of course, that's up to you to research for).

RE: Peace
By Alexstarfire on 3/13/2008 4:50:43 PM , Rating: 1
I think that all religion is wrong, though what they practice may be useful, so I'll answer yes to your question. I'm pretty sure that no religious text is going to tell you it's all right to kill people as long as it's in the name of God. There is no such thing as a Holy War IMO because of this. Sounds more like it's two bickering kids who can't share a toy and Mom/Dad aren't doing anything to stop them. Of course, there is no Mom/Dad in this situation, but I think you get the point.

RE: Peace
By Obsoleet on 3/13/2008 11:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
You would give up on peace??

You are a damn fool. Your mentality is exactly what's wrong with our world and why we're at war.

Peace IS possible if you take up the real, daily work that peace requires. See Northern Ireland if you don't quite understand how peace can "just happen" through effort.

You disgust me and you didn't study hard enough in school, start using your head.

RE: Peace
By cochy on 3/13/2008 3:23:23 PM , Rating: 3
Your personal take on history needs revising. Plus you should also understand that "peace" is relative. There hasn't been "peace" in the region since well, I can't say exactly but definitely since before WWII. The Ottomans had a pretty brutal occupation of Palestine before the British took over in WWI. I wouldn't call British occupation peaceful, all the lands they've occupied in Asia and Africa (not to mention America) have had or have now lots of issues as a result.

RE: Peace
By KristopherKubicki on 3/13/2008 4:04:30 PM , Rating: 5
You sure about that?

The Ottomans didn't even have a name for the region, it was largely dismissed as a backwater nowhere in the empire.

And you can't say that the Ottomans were particularly brutal to just the residents of the region, since they ended up being particularly brutal to residents in all of its regions *cough*Armenia*cough* before the empire fall apart.

But find me an example of genocide or war over the region during the Caliphs? The Romans and Byzantians completely banned Jews from the area for the previous 700 years -- the Caliphs not only removed the ban, but encouraged Jewish pilgrams to resettle the area.

Sounds like peace to me.

RE: Peace
By cochy on 3/13/2008 4:24:36 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not talking about wars or genocide. Basically I'm referring to the fact that Palestine has been "occupied" by a foreign power for a very long time. It was only until the birth of Israel do we have a true nation there. The land is being developed and an economy is hoping to flourish. The Ottomans may not have been brutal in the sense of murders and prosecution but they sure were not a catalyst for prosperity, nor were the British.

To the OP, don't just say the Israeli's need to practice human rights with a perfect sense of understanding of what is going on there. For quick example: What happened after the Israelis unilaterally completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip? An increase in violence is what. Militants took over the area and started launching more rocket attacks, now the militant Hamas are completely in charge of that region. That is the result of Israeli withdrawal, forgive them if they are a little hesitant to withdraw some more at the moment.

RE: Peace
By WelshBloke on 3/13/2008 7:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
Basically I'm referring to the fact that Palestine has been "occupied" by a foreign power for a very long time.

According to the Palestinians it still is.

RE: Peace
By JustTom on 3/14/2008 11:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
If you define peace in the narrowest terms then after the initial Islamic conquests -which were very often horrific - the area certainly was peaceful. What it was not is just. There legal system existed specifically to benefit Muslims. Any other religious group was treated as a second tier citizen.

Also, you are ignoring the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim who ordered the destruction of churches and synagogues along with forced conversion to Islam. While these actions probably did not merit being called genocidal they dance around the edge of it. Most of the Fatimid Caliphs were religiously tolerant-especially in historical context-but there were certainly exceptions.

As far as war over the region during the rule of the Caliphate, certainly you are not indicating your belief that the area was peacefully acquired? I won't point out the Christian Crusades since legitimately the Caliph was not in control of them. However, there are ample examples of warfare among Muslims during the rule of the Caliphs. The Mamluk conquest of Egypt is an obvious example.
And specifically, how do you think a Caliph would respond to rockets raining down on his villages? I am pretty sure his actions would make the Israeli's appear to be scared little school girls.

RE: Peace
By eye smite on 3/13/2008 5:11:12 PM , Rating: 4
Here, you need to read the sites information on the link below first.

For a modern day history of that same story and reasoning behind it read this next link below.

and then to add to this mix let me put a quote and a link that will tie it all up for you and possibly clear up your perception issues. Here's the quote:
The Human Animal which accompanies a major six-part series, shows that, however much we may think we have evolved from our animal ancestors, our instincts and behaviour are still rooted in our animal past. By denying this inheritance we are in danger of destroying everything we have strived so hard to create.
Now let me give you the link for that.

Now after you've studied all that my young college fellow, I'd like to see you continue to rattle off the idealistic and unrealistic propoganda of peace.

RE: Peace
By encryptkeeper on 3/13/2008 8:52:25 PM , Rating: 1
See my post above. Basically, the root of the most current series of problems is because the UN took land that BELONGED to the Palestinians and turned it into what is now Israel. Why the UN thought the Palestinian people would be all yippie skippy about giving up their homes to live in tents is beyond me...

RE: Peace
By cochy on 3/13/2008 9:16:45 PM , Rating: 3

That's the big problem. The land never belonged to any sovereign native population. Have a look. Throughout all this time there were Arabs and Jews living on the land. Before WWII Arab population was the majority however.

UN partition
British Mandate (1920–1948)
Ottoman Rule (1841-1917)
Mamluk rule (1270–1516 CE)
Crusader rule (1099–1187 CE)
Fatimid rule (969–1099 CE)
Abbasid rule (750–969 CE)
Umayyad rule (661–750 CE)
Arab Caliphate rule (638–1099 CE)
Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire) rule (330–640 CE)
Roman rule (63 BCE)
Hasmonean Dynasty (140 BCE)
Hellenistic rule (333 BCE)
Persian rule (538 BCE)
Hebrew Bible period

RE: Peace
By onereddog on 3/13/2008 9:27:33 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, but I must be a picky bastard with your post.

Firstly: You're probably a college student...not a collage student, although that would explain your claim that being a hippy comes with the title.

Secondly: Your arguement against this laser is akin to saying let's not produce better ways of producing condoms and give them to those who need them and spend more time on a cure. Sure, if a solution to the conflict or a cure for aids was just around the foreseeble coner, then that arguement would hold (barely), but since that isn't the case, missile defense systems are a good idea.

RE: Peace
By 91TTZ on 3/16/08, Rating: 0
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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