Israeli Air Force chief: We are ready to deal with Iran

Commander Ido Nehushtan tells German magazine decision whether to hit Iran diplomatic, not logistic.

ido nehushtan 248.88 (photo credit: IDF )
ido nehushtan 248.88
(photo credit: IDF )
"We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us" in order to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, IAF commander Maj. -Gen. Ido Nehushtan told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Tuesday. Nehushtan told the magazine that whether a military strike is eventually decided upon is a political question and not an issue of Israel's military capabilities. A strike against Iran's nuclear facilities "is a political decision," the IAF commander said, "but if I understand it correctly, all options are on the table… The Air Force is a very robust and flexible force. We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us." When asked by the paper whether the Israeli military was able to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, which are spread around the country and partly located underground, Nehushtan said, "Please understand that I do not want to get into details. I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question." Nehushtan said the cutting edge capabilities of the IDF in the region were not only a derivative of the advanced technologies it uses. "Modern technology is one thing, but the biggest advantage we have is our soldiers and officers. Israel is a small country. We neither have a big population nor natural resources. Our biggest asset is our human resources. And it is the Air Force that makes best use of it," he said. Nehushtan then addressed the new reality in Lebanon since the integration of Hizbullah into the government in Beirut several months ago. "Hizbullah has been part of the Lebanese government since this spring. It is not a fringe terror organization - it is supported by the state. Militarily, Hizbullah is stronger than the regular Lebanese army. If they attack us, we might react differently [to how we did in the 2006 Second Lebanon War]," he said. Asked about deploying missile defense systems to protect Israelis from the Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza, as well as the Iranian threat of ballistic missiles, the IAF commander described Israel's huge investments in missile defense as an "insurance policy." "Each type of rocket requires a different defense system. Up until today, only the Arrow System, is functioning. It can intercept ballistic missiles. In order to defend ourselves against the short-range rockets of Hamas and Hizbullah, we are building the Iron Dome system. In response to the threat of medium-range rockets, we are developing a system called David's Sling. This is all very expensive. It is like an insurance policy: You pay a lot, even if nothing happens. But if something then does happen, then you are satisfied with the investment," he explained.