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Monday, July 4, 2005
Israel Air Force Commander - Key to Israel's Existence is Continued Control of Airspace After Disengagement

[IMRA: While Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy, of course,
is in no position to actually know if Israel will in fact continue to
control the airspace in the Gaza Strip after Israel retreats, he certainly
is in a position to identify the importance of controlling the airspace.
While the Sharon team has made it clear that their post retreat planning
horizon may be measured in weeks (if not days), one would have hoped that
the military is preparing for the future beyond September. One certainly
hopes that the Air Force has put some thought into a "Plan B" in the case
that after the retreat it finds that it no longer does control the airspace.
The Sharon team frequently points to the retreat from Lebanon as a model.
While Israel does send planes and other craft over Southern Lebanon from
time to time, these actions are not accepted by the international community.
There are certainly many scenarios under which the situation maybe
manipulated to strip Israel of control of the Gaza airspace.]

Air Force Role in Terror War Soars - Amir Rappaport
(Maariv-Hebrew, 1 July 05
With thanks to Israel News - the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy said in an interview:

Q: Will the Israeli Air Force operate in the skies of the Gaza Strip and
northern Samaria even after disengagement?

A: "Israel's airspace will continue to include all the territory. That is
one of the keys for the security and existence of the state. In the war
against terrorism the last year was extremely significant for the
utilization of airpower."

"At the beginning of 2004, the air force was responsible for 10-15% of the
terrorists hit by the IDF. By the end of that year the air force was
responsible for 60-80%."

"At the same time, the number of collateral Palestinian casualties dropped
dramatically."

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