Israel’s Iron Dome program is alleviating death tolls in the Israel-Palestinian conflict—something that may ameliorate relations between the two nations, according to Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States.
“It’s been historically successful,” Oren said on Tuesday’s Morning Joe, celebrating the program’s ability to neutralize Hezbollah missiles mid-air. The program is a ‘game changer,’ he said, but not a ‘game ender.’
Credited as the first, effective anti-ballistic weapon, the Iron Dome neutralizes incoming short-range rockets whose trajectory is calculated to hit populated areas. During Hezbollah’s missile air-strike on Israel in November, Oren said, the Iron Dome took down 85% of the rockets that would have otherwise hit densely populated cities.
“It actually not only saved Israeli lives but also Palestinian lives,” said Oren. He believes the program will also be instrumental in the peace process between Israel and Palestine because, “It gave us space and time.”
According to Oren, the Iron Dome’s protection mitigated pressure for President Benjamin Netanyahu to respond offensively to the air-strike. Instead of sending 75,000 soldiers into Gaza, Oren said, “we didn’t have to operate on the ground and it gave us time to work out a ceasefire with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” Since the ceasefire was announced on Nov. 21st, Palestine has been recognized by the United Nations on Nov. 29th and communications have improved, according to Oren.
Oren projected optimism for Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel in March,where the leaders hope to continue progressive discussions of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
But while the Iron Dome program proved to be successful during the Israel-Palestine conflict, Oren maintained that it is not going to help with the current instability in the Middle East.
“75,000 rockets in Lebanon, maybe another 6000-7000 in Gaza, Syria has the largest chemical arsenal in the world, the entire region is in turmoil,” Oren said.