On the left, the powerful Israeli missile interception system, called the Iron Dome. Right, rockets launched against Israel by Palestinian militia Hamas from Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip.
The stunning nighttime image, captured by photographer Anas Baba, reflects the violence of the conflict between the IDF and Palestinian militants, which has escalated in recent days.
The lights of the Hamas projectiles reflected in the night and the missiles launched by the Iron Dome have become usual scenes for the residents of Ashkelon, Sderot and other populations who live near the Gaza Strip.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 2,000 projectiles were launched from Gaza against Israeli targets. The latest Israeli airstrike reportedly killed seven people from two families last night in a refugee camp in Gaza. A five-month-old baby is believed to be the only survivor.
Hamas responded by launching missiles at the southern territories of Israel, but no deaths were reported.
An iron dome
In the conflict, Israel has a sophisticated arsenal that the Palestinians lack. The Iron Dome is part of its complete air defense system.
Its objective is to protect the territory from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, rockets and other air threats.
It was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense System LTD, a private company with close ties to the Israeli armed forces that builds air, sea and land defense systems.
The Iron Dome has also received funding of over US $ 200 million. The manufacturer ensures that this anti-missile shield is effective in more than 90% of cases.
The batteries are made up of interceptor missiles, radars and control systems that analyze where enemy rockets may land.
Radar technology differentiates between missiles that can hit urban areas and those that must miss the target. The system then decides which ones to intercept.
Interceptors are launched vertically from mobile or stationary units. They then detonate the missiles in the air.
Baba’s photograph reflects the power of the Israeli anti-missile shield and how the conflict with the Palestinians has some of its most active fronts in the sky. And the violence observed in the air, but also on the ground, is the worst in at least a decade.
More than 120 deaths have been reported in the Gaza Strip and 10 in the West Bank, two areas of Palestinian population. Eight people were reportedly killed in Israel.
The latest escalation came after clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian groups at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Hamas launched rockets into Israeli territory, while Israel shelled sections of the Gaza Strip.
The wave of violence is also leading to clashes between Jewish and Arab communities in the West Bank and in several Israeli towns.
The first conflicts erupted over the threat of eviction of Palestinian families from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, located outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The area where the families currently live is claimed by Jewish settler groups in Israeli courts.
The Israelis have occupied areas inhabited by Palestinians across the settlements for decades in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank. In the latter alone, there are approximately 430,000 Israeli settlers spread across 132 settlements.
These settlements are considered illegal under international law. At least six times since 1979, the UN Security Council has reaffirmed that this is a “flagrant violation of international law”. The latest date of 2016 – the official document also mentions East Jerusalem.
Israel defends the initiatives, arguing that it is a strategy to defend its integrity and not an attempt to seize Palestinian sovereignty.
It is one of the most contentious issues in the region’s peace negotiations and helps explain why the current conflict was inevitable, according to Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor.
Just because the conflict has faded from international headlines in recent years, he says, doesn’t mean it’s over. It is an open wound in the heart of the Middle East, which generates hatred and resentment that crosses not only years, but generations.