Daily Israel Report

Frustrated Pilots: Limits on Firing Endanger Our Comrades

IAF pilots in Gaza say they sometimes refrain from helping IDF soldiers facing terrorists on the ground because of 'moral' limitations.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/25/2014, 4:11 PM

Reports in Israeli media cite IAF pilots who bitterly complain that due to the strict limitations placed on their use of fire, they sometimes have to refrain from helping comrades facing terrorist fire on the ground.

“Testimony that is reaching us from fighter pilots who provide close air assistance to the combat soldiers who are currently fighting in the field,” Channel 2's military correspondent Nir Dvori reported, “about growing frustration over the fact that they hear the forces below them on the ground asking for cover and close air support when they see the terrorists drawing near from short range, firing at them, and there is no approval, because of various limitations, so as not to hit innocent civilians, and out of concern not to hit uninvolved people, and for this reason they cannot always give covering fire, cannot always fire, and so the frustration is that to some extent, they are leaving the fighters on their own to fight on the ground...”

Yaron Lerman, a Facebook user who posted video of Dvori's statement, asked: “Does Israel, as a Jewish and democratic state, have the right to forcibly conscript its citizens and send them to their deaths so as not to hurt enemy civilians? Is that what the state of Israel was established for?”

Ynet's veteran defense analyst Ron Ben Yishai reported that one of the reasons that Hamas was prepared to face Israeli ground troops in the Shejaiya neighborhood, where IDF suffered 13 killed in one day of fighting, is that the residents were given ample advance notice of the IDF's intent to enter the neighborhood.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz took pride in the fact that the IDF takes such care to notify residents of its attack plans. “We cannot agree for Hamas to place civilians in our path,” he said earlier thisweek. “So what we have done is to warn the civilians over and over again to evacuate. There are no armies like this, which drop leaflets, call on the phone, bomb next to the target or carry out a 'knowk on the roof,' and even disperse the residents with smoke.”