Nehushtan to ‘Post:’ IAF ready for threats, including Iran (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 05/17/12)
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The Israel Air Force is prepared for the many missions and threats it
faces in the Middle East, including a possible operation against
Iran’s nuclear facilities, outgoing OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido
Nehushtan has told The Jerusalem Post.
The exclusive interview, which will appear in Friday’s Magazine, was
conducted with Nehushtan – who has led the IAF for the past four
years – just days before he handed over command to Maj.- Gen. Amir
“I understand the missions that stand before the IAF, and we have
done everything we can during this period to create capabilities so
we can fulfill these missions,” he said in response to a question of
whether the air force was capable of dealing with the Iranian
threat. “In general, the IAF is prepared for all of these missions.”
Nehushtan came out strongly during the interview against the ongoing
public discussion regarding a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities,
saying it lacked “basic facts.”
The Israeli media has been flooded with interviews and reports in
recent months regarding a possible strike.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, for example, said in a
series of interviews published on Independence Day that Israel had
prepared a viable military option to attack the Islamic Republic.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has spoken many times about the need for
the right timing for such a strike, while former Mossad chief Meir
Dagan and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin
have warned of the consequences of such an operation.
“I think that in this specific issue [Iran] we should not talk,”
Nehushtan said. “I say this with all of the responsibility it
entails. I think that a public discourse on this issue is lacking the
basic facts needed to hold it and I think that it should not be held
in this way.”
As an example, he brought Israel’s bombing of the Osirak reactor in
Iraq in 1981.
“The Iraqi thing was known for years before the reactor was attacked.
It was known but it did not turn into a public discussion and that
should be the case here as well,” he said.
During the interview, Nehushtan warned that Israel’s air superiority
was increasingly undermined by the proliferation of sophisticated
surface-to-air missile systems throughout the region – in Syria,
Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.
“The IAF needs to be ready to fly in places where there is a threat
to its superiority,” he said “This is the case already now and
therefore when we approach a front like Lebanon or Gaza we will first
look at the intelligence, then study the threats and then think about
the best way to carry out our missions.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem
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