January 23rd, 2009
Daily Orders by GOC Southern Command
Fighters and Commanders of the IDF in the Southern Front,
For the last month, IDF forces, both in reserve and regular service, together with forces of the ISA, operated in a concentrated campaign against terrorism in the Gaza Strip. Operation Cast Lead was initiated on December 27th, [the sixth day of the Holiday of Chanukah], when an aerial attack was directed against central terrorist command centers and outposts. The operation continued in the weeks to follow in a ground campaign aimed at terrorist sites throughout all of Gaza.
After years of continuous intentional terror attacks on Israeli civilians in southern Israel, the operation brought forth a new security situation, making clear that Israel will not allow its existence in this region to be doubted or questioned.
IDF fighters on the ground, in the air, and at sea, operated out of a strong belief in the righteousness of our way and demonstrated a steadfast fighting spirit, ambition, and a maintenance of the goal of this mission, while operating with a sense of comradeship and brotherhood in arms.
The cooperation between the various operating forces, as well as the presence of commanders in the front lines, were central factors behind the operation’s success.
The defense of our right to a safe and peaceful life in Israel had once again come at a high cost. 13 of Israel’s finest – fighters, commanders and civilians – were lost in the campaign for the security of Israel’s south. We lower our heads and our flag in honor of their memory, and mourn with their families. We extend a wish of full recovery to the wounded, and once more emphasize that we will do our utmost to return the kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, to the warmth of his family.
The battle for the security of the state of Israel is yet to be over. We shall look onward, to the challenges of the future, knowing that we will successfully engage them, thanks to the righteousness of our way and our courageous spirit.
The Southern Command expresses its appreciation to the corps of the IDF for defending Israel and its people.
Major General GOC Southern Command