In the morning of 12 July 2006 Hezbollah employed missiles, mortars and snipers in southern Lebanon. In a well-coordinated action three Israeli servicemen were killed and two were abducted. As a reaction Israel carried out standard artillery bombardments. An Israeli Defense Force (IDF) unit was ordered to pursue the Hezbollah group in Lebanon, but was ambushed, during which a main battle tank was destroyed and the crew killed. Subsequently, Israel got entangled in an armed conflict from 12 July up to and including 13 August, when, after intensive consultation, the UN adopted a resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities.2 After the conflict both Hezbollah and Israel claimed victory. In the aftermath of the conflict there was much criticism in Israel on the way the IDF, and in particular the Israeli Air Force (IAF), had conducted the war. This article is an attempt to analyse what the IAF’s contribution was and how effective this contribution was in relation to the outcome of the war. In doing so, this contribution will be divided into two parts. In the first part the political arena in Israel will be considered, as it is there where certain strategic choices were made that determined the outcome of the conflict in advance. Subsequently, the tactical
concept of Hezbollah will be reviewed, in its role as Israel’s opponent. The second part is a chronology of the IAF’s air actions. In the third part IAF’s effectiveness and contribution to Israel reaching its strategic objectives will be discussed.