Many Qassam rocket fighters have lost family
members to Israeli military attacks
Over the last few months, Israel has been threatening to mount a large-scale invasion over parts of the Gaza Strip, in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli collective farms and cities. 

As the governing authorities in Gaza, Hamas have refused to condemn rocket-firing, arguing they are a legitimate weapon of resistance.

The homemade rockets were first introduced by Hamas in the 2000 Intifada as a form of retaliation against Israel's incursions.

But today, Israel claims that its continuing blockade of Gaza and its moves to reduce the Gaza Strip's power supplies is a direct consequence of the rocket attacks.

Their actions are widely criticised for being collective punishment of the Palestinian people - but Israelis view the firing of the Qassam rockets to also be collective punishment.

Israel has tried to halt the Qassam threat by
raids on metal works in Gaza
While the civilian death toll from the rockets is low, the psychological price that Israelis are paying is clearly high.

A recent poll indicates that 64 per cent of Israelis want their government to negotiate with Hamas to broker a ceasefire. 

Could there be an end in sight for the war of the rockets?

Paul Martin gains unique access to a Qassam rocket launching team in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli helicopter pilots charged with hunting them down.

Watch part one of this episode of People & Power on YouTube

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This episode of People & Power aired from Sunday March 2, 2008

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