On Operation Cast Lead

On Operation Cast Lead

By DAVID HOROVITZ
September 17, 2009 15:17
4 minute read.

Do you feel that the level of force used was proportional and that the harm to the civilian population was not too severe, even when taking into consideration the enemy's cynical use of the civilian population and infrastructure? We did not choose to operate in Gaza. This is important to emphasize. They brought us to this place after eight years of attacks on our cities. We, in the IAF, visited Sderot the week after the operation, and you need to be there to feel and see what it means to raise kids there when all you have are 15 seconds to seek shelter after an air-raid siren goes off. There are kids who were born into this reality and have lived this way their entire lives. There is no other place like this in the world where schoolchildren need to run within 15 seconds to a bomb shelter. We did not choose to operate in Gaza, but in the end our moral commitment to the people of Israel obligated us to operate. Our operation was launched due to decisions made by Hamas, namely to continue attacking Ashkelon and other cities every day. For what reason? We disengaged from the Gaza Strip! We don't have a centimeter of it. You will not find anywhere else in the world a military that operates in an urban setting the way we did. This was demonstrated by our accuracy as well as the attention we gave to every single target, with exact planning to prevent collateral damage even by calling the people there to let them leave their homes, which in some cases were storehouses for weapons. We then kept our eye on the homes and ensured that they left. We gave this service and only then attacked. To drop a missile and hit the right target is not a simple task. A missile, just from a technical malfunction or statistical error, can hit the wrong target. But this did not happen and we made sure to hold by the same strict procedures with each and every target. There is no comparison to this type of military conduct anywhere in the world. There is no such thing anywhere outside of Israel like the knock-on-the-roof missile [a missile developed by Israel which works like a stun grenade, does not cause damage or injuries and was used to scare people to leave their homes]. Let's not forget that we are talking about targets that have military value, and we were still sensitive to collateral damage and harm to civilians. At the end of the day, though, this is an operation in an urban setting and we were facing Hamas, which cynically uses the civilian population for its needs. There is, though, real sadness among us when innocent people are either hurt or killed. Our moral responsibility, though, is to the citizens of Israel and to defend and protect them. To understand this, you need to visit the Gaza-belt towns which have been living under mortar and rocket attacks for 61 years and this is unacceptable. What we did was out of self-defense. The accuracy that we achieved there was almost 100 percent in hitting the targets that we intended to. What about the opening bombing of the operation when the IAF bombed Hamas police targets? This is not to say that the Hamas police doesn't work for a terror regime but they may just be police. We need to look at Hamas from the top to bottom. Look at the way they killed Fatah. Who do you think did that? This is how they killed their own people. We need to disconnect from traditional military concepts and understand that Hamas doesn't work that way. They don't come in uniforms or in tanks to a battlefield. This is the meaning of the type of fighting that is conducted in a civilian arena. Doing this is part of their strategy since they recognize our weakness and sensitivity to operate in such places since we are very sensitive when operating there. This is why we did the detailed inspection of every single target. But they are the opposite and intentionally target civilians. This is an asymmetric conflict not just on a military level but also on an ethical and moral level. How can we get this message out to the world? What are you doing to help clarify this idea in the public? This primary way to evaluate the operation is by the outcome and the fact is that there is quiet that we obtained for the citizens of the South. We have succeeded in meeting this goal and retaining it. We can say that we did a good job and that this is the most important aspect of the operation. Except for explaining to you all of the efforts we made after waiting eight years and trying other possibilities - like the disengagement and the cease-fire with Hamas which didn't work - there is not much more I can do. Israel does not always find itself in the easiest place to explain what we are doing, and therefore you need to be here to see it. This is a dangerous place with radical people, and we sometimes don't have a choice but to fight.


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