As the operation came to its end, IAF commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan have addressed the soldiers of the force, discussing the necessity of the operation, the level of performance, and the moral values guiding the army

A message from the commander of IAF upon the completion of operation “Cast Lead”:

As the operation came to its end, IAF commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan have addressed the soldiers of the force, discussing the necessity of the operation, the level of performance, and the moral values guiding the army:

IAF soldiers on duty an in reserve,

“Code Red” means a mad dash to the nearest shelter for children living in Southern Israel.

“Code Red” means hiding under the tables for students living and studying in Southern Israel.

“Code Red” means a frightening anticipation of rocket attack for the citizens living in Southern Israel, with only a few seconds to prepare.

For too many long years, “Code Red” has become an un-acceptable part of the daily life in Southern Israel. The disruptive power of fear and terror shadows the life of all citizens living in the south.

For years, Israel has been patient and forgiving about the attacks. Not a single country in the world would agree to impose such harsh reality on its citizens, and with the ongoing threat on its sovereignty. About three weeks ago, following a government decision, the IDF has launched operation codenamed “Cast Lead”. Its aim was to fight “Hamas”, eliminate the rocket threat, and restore safety and stability to southern Israel.

The “Hamas” made a choice of fighting its war from within its people, in a dense urban environment. Often times, innocent citizens were used as a human shield. “Hamas” production and storage of arms was usually located inside residential buildings, mosques, and other public places. Rocket launch pads were set up near such places as well.

The complexity of the urban warfare placed a high demand for precision and accuracy on the air force. Almost “surgical” precision was achieved through superior intelligence, accurate planning, professional control, and excellent mission execution. The air force also demonstrated ability to resolve unexpected issued on the battle field, such as operating in bad weather.  

The mission began with a surprise air attack. It continued with a systematic destruction of strategic targets such as arms storage and manufacturing facilities, and smuggling tunnels. Rocket launch abilities were reduced almost to none. The air force also played a major role in providing an early warning system to the residents, allowing them to prepare for an upcoming rocket attack and reduce casualties.

With the commencement of ground operations, the IAF role was to support ground forces, and to assist in achieving the operation’s goals:

– Helicopters and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operators provided an ongoing support to the soldiers on the ground.

– Rescue unit 669 evacuated the wounded.

– Intelligence units provided timely and vital information to infantry forces.

– Fighter jets provided superior assistance with the destruction of smuggling tunnels and other targets.

– A remarkable cooperation between the air force and the infantry units was achieved.

As the operation came to its end, the results are obvious: “Hamas” capabilities were seriously hampered. Our hope is that the citizens of the south will finally have an opportunity for quiet and peaceful life that any human being and citizen deserve.

During the operation, thereof our citizens and ten soldiers were killed. We extend our condolences to their families, and we wish a fast recovery to all wounded.

Soldiers of the air force,

We did not choose to have this fight on the streets of Gaza. This was a reality dictated by “Hamas”. We did everything in our power to avoid hurting innocent citizens. We utilized all of our intelligence resources, we planned as carefully as we could, we monitored and controlled every step of our operations, and we provided an early warning to Palestinian citizens of upcoming attacks.

We acted within high moral and ethical standards, and in the Jewish spirit, with the highest priority of protecting the lives of Israeli citizens.

Operation “Cast Lead” demonstrated an extraordinary level of performance. Moreover, we witnessed a remarkable level of cooperation between the different units and forces.

I am extremely proud of our air force. Everyone did their best to make this operation a success.

The operation is done, but the threat is not over. We are bound for many more challenges in the future. I am confident at our success at whatever these challenges will be.

Ido Nehushtan

Air force Commander