Those Israelis are smart. Their new “knock on the roof” method of warning of strikes is cool:
The Israeli military let it be known that it was using this tactic – known as ‘knock on the roof’ – again during Operation Pillar of Defence. It involves firing low-explosive ‘teaser’ bombs or missiles onto houses designated for destruction, with the intention of making an impact serious enough to scare the inhabitants into fleeing their homes before they are destroyed completely.
Israel makes much of the fact that it always tries to warn civilian inhabitants of impending bombings. The new procedure is a twist on the established ‘knock on the door’ method, which involved telephoning a house – with a recorded message, or using an Arabic-speaking air-force operator – to inform the inhabitants that in a few minutes the building would be destroyed. Sometimes phones that had been disconnected for months because the bill hadn’t been paid were suddenly reactivated in order to relay these warnings. According to the Israeli military, during the last 24 hours of Pillar of Defence, thousands of such calls were made to residents of Gaza, warning them of incoming strikes. (Israel can penetrate Gaza’s communication networks so easily because its telephone networks and internet infrastructure are routed through Israeli servers, which has advantages both for the gathering of intelligence and the delivery of propaganda.)
Of course, many inhabitants of Gaza don’t have a landline or a mobile phone. In these cases, an IDF spokesperson recently explained, the military’s legal experts recommend the use of leaflets to encourage people to leave their houses before they are destroyed. Teaser bombs are just another means of sending a warning.