IAF commander says deterrence effective – for now

Hamas and Hizbullah are rational, seek to maintain rule over their populations, and can therefore be deterred.

Hamas and Hizbullah are successfully deterred by Israel at this point in time, IDF Commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nahushtan said on Tuesday, but added that he did not know how long the deterrence would last, Israel Radio reported.
“It would be a mistake to think that Hamas and Hizbullah care for nothing,” Nahushtan said, speaking at a conference held at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya. Both terrorist organizations sought to maintain rule over populations, the Air Force commander said.
“Israel is a country which must fight for its existence, and that means activating military power, when the nature of wars has changed over the years,” Nahushtan said during the address, the text of which was made available by the IDF Spokesman Unit.
“We are fighting against large numbers of missiles and rockets, and the enemy views these as an effective weapon and is investing money and resources in them,” he added.
“Today’s wars are also over public opinion,” Nahushtan said, adding that “we must be able to only strike terrorist targets while taking care not to strike noncombatants.”
Nahushtan addressed attempts by terrorist organizations to “limit the Air Force’s freedom of activity through attempts to hide enemy positions and escape from those positions.”
“It is much harder to fight against a system of well hidden tunnels andbunkers, and the enemy’s mobility also makes it more difficult, as thetargets are constantly moving. We are, however, familiar with thesethings and we are dealing with them effectively,” he said.
Among its many tasks, the Air Force was working to “constantly improveits ability to collect intelligence, and connect the informationtogether with its attack capabilities,” Nahushtan said.
Addressing the use of drones in the Air Force, Nahushtan described them“a vital complementary” component, but stressed that they were notreplacing manned aircraft.
“Unlike piloted crafts, unmanned aerial vehicles can hover over abattlefield for an extended period of time, and can assist aerial andland-based missions. During Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, half of all ofthe Air Force’s flight time was made up of UAV flight time,” he said.