Massive Reduction in Israeli Military Presence in Gaza – What it Means

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with soldiers from the Golani Brigade. (Photo: Prime Minister of Israel X Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Editors

Five combat brigades operating in the Gaza Strip is being pulled out from Gaza. What does it mean?

The Israeli army has decided to demobilize (pull out) five combat brigades operating in the Gaza Strip. They include the 551st and the 114th reserve brigades as well as three training brigades.

Yedioth Ahronoth said in its English website that soldiers from these brigades were returning to Israel to help in the replenishing of the Israeli economy.

The Israeli army said that there would no longer be a need for having these many soldiers inside Gaza as the army’s mission has been largely achieved in northern and central regions of the Strip. 

But is this true?

Not in the least. 

Out of the estimated 17 brigades operating in Gaza, four are still fighting in the northern parts and the battles there are far from over. 

Moreover, the battles in central Gaza have not yet exceeded the eastern borders of Al-Bureij refugee camp. Several Israeli army brigades have tried and failed to control a very small area of only a few square kilometers. 

No serious fighting has yet taken place in Nuseirat, Maghazi or Deir Al-Balah, which continue to be subjected to relentless bombardments and massacres.

Though it is true that seven brigades have been reportedly fighting in the Khan Yunis region in the south, they are yet to achieve any significant military gains. 

Is this the start of the much-touted third phase of fighting? 

For weeks, Israeli media have been hinting that a third phase of the fighting will be starting soon. The third phase does not necessarily imply that the first and second phases have succeeded, although this is what the Israeli government would like us to believe. 

At best, the third phase can be considered an attempt at running a way forward, as in giving the impression that the war is going according to plan. 

But is the war going according to plan?

The problem for the Israeli military, from the very first day of the war, is that there was never a clear military plan to match the lofty goals of destroying and dismantling Hamas and reoccupying the Gaza Strip. 

Yesterday, right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the war for “many more months.”

The announcement of a significant reduction indicates that Netanyahu’s statement was intended mostly for local consumption. 

The Walla news website reported that additional forces were most likely to also be pulled out from Gaza next week. At this rate, the Israeli war in Gaza will cease to exist in its current form. 

Did Israel lose the war?

Although this could be understood as a major setback for the Israeli military, which has faced unprecedented resistance in the history of all Arab-Israeli conflicts, it remains unclear if Israel is fully retreating or is still hoping to achieve a form of victory. 

Some Israeli media are even talking about the fourth phase, which is administering the Gaza Strip under Israeli military control. But if Israel could not defeat the Resistance in Gaza, how could it administer Gaza?

Another aspect worth considering is that the Israeli government is still talking about forcibly displacing Palestinians out of Gaza, along with controlling the Philadelphi route between Rafah and Egypt. 

Will Israel succeed in displacing Palestinians? 

This horrific possibility is less likely to take place than ever before. 

For Israel to displace some or all of the 2.3 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, it would have to take control of all of Gaza.

But Israel is still hoping that the strategy of collective punishment will pay dividends. 

International media spoke about the fact that many Palestinian families are now subsisting on rotten food and the hunting of stray animals. If urgent aid does not arrive in Gaza, the very survival of Palestinians in the Strip will be at stake. 

Far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has been pushing the idea of displacing Palestinians, which is being echoed by other top Israeli officials, often under the term ‘voluntary migrations’.

But if Israel is unable to achieve this via outright military force, pushing Palestinians beyond the brink of human tolerance is likely to be their new strategy. 

Are Palestinians winning?

A single Israeli hospital today, the Barzilai Medical Center, reported that they have treated 3,500 Israeli soldiers since October 7.

This is the highest rate of Israeli casualties ever recorded in the 75 years of Israel’s history, and it goes against all the official announcements made by the Israeli military, or even independent estimates published by Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth. 

There is no other way of interpreting this, especially with the massive reduction of Israeli military presence in Gaza, except that the Palestinian Resistance is winning and the Israeli military is failing.

The impact of this potential victory will be earth-shattering as it will alter the fundamental relationship between Palestinians and Israelis, between Israel and neighboring Arab and Middle Eastern countries, and Israel’s status as America’s most powerful ally in the region. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 21,822 Palestinians have been killed, and 56,451 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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  1. With (dis)respect to Netanyahu and his thugs, their version of the Israeli national anthem is the ACDC parody “Dirty Dees Done with sheep”, since that’s the (dis)respect they hold for their fellow citizens. As far as the IDF goes, I’m reminded of the Luftwaffe’s performance in the Battle of Britain versus their propaganda experts’ performance. Every mission, somebody’d say, “Here come the RAF’s last 50 Spitfires”. When the propaganda outperforms the military, you know there’s trouble.

  2. Wow.
    Baseless propaganda pipedreams from start to finish? What kind of editor approves such poor “journalism”?

  3. If your family attacks n kills some of my family n kidnap some, be sure I will beat the he’ll out of your family until you bring them all back.

    • If your family comes and harass my family and claim that my land is yours because of mumbo jumbo fables from thousand years ago and killing my family in the process for sure I will retaliate and kill you back.

  4. 75 years. The rest of the world who are God-fearing, stand with Palestine. The end is nigh.

  5. Israel pathetic reasons for its actions has no legal grounds. It is merely based on stolen grounds.

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