So why are the Israelis building exactly such a wall now? From CBS comes a possible answer :
A joint U.S.-Israeli laser designed to protect northern Israel from missile attacks downed its largest rocket to date during a test over the southern New Mexico desert.
The ground-based Tactical High Energy Laser, or THEL, locked onto and destroyed the 11-foot-long, 6-inch-diameter rocket in flight over White Sands Missile Range on Tuesday, Pam Rogers, a U.S. Army spokeswoman in Huntsville, Alabama, said Friday.
The stationary test version of THEL has shot down smaller Katyusha rockets and artillery shells in the past, she said.
The system, which eventually would be mobile, uses an advanced radar to spot and track incoming rockets and then fires a deuterium fluoride chemical laser to destroy them.
Israel's director of weapons systems and infrastructure development, Shmuel Keren, said the system is able to intercept a variety of aerial targets such as long-range rockets and cruise missiles, to which there is currently no solution.
THEL, being developed by Northrop-Grumman Corp., has passed tests at White Sands since 2000, said Bob Bishop, the company's media relations manager in Redondo Beach, California.
The company could deliver a mobile prototype by 2007 or 2008 if it gets a contract this summer, he said, adding that the project appears in the U.S. defense budget for fiscal 2004 with a $56 million allocation.