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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777
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IDF Pulled Out Tanks and Soldiers before Ceasefire Ended

Israel declared the war was over before it is over.

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The IDF pulled tanks out of Gaza before the ceasefire ended.

The IDF pulled tanks out of Gaza before the ceasefire ended.
Photo Credit: Flash 90

The IDF gave Hamas to green light to resume rocket fire towards the end of the 72-hour ceasefire by sending home tens of thousands of soldiers and transporting hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) to training bases in the north.

Convoys of trucks carrying tanks to the north were seen as early as Wednesday, and the Jewish Press has learned from several sources in the army that orders had been prepared as early as Tuesday to release thousands of Reservists on Thursday, even there were no assurances that the ceasefire would be extended. It wasn’t.

The IDF also sent back to advanced basic training camps combat soldiers who had been called to Gaza at the beginning of the war.

The large-scale redeployment was accompanied by premature boasts by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz that residents of Israel could go back to their homes without any fear of rocket attacks.

By Friday, Ashkelon and the Western Negev again were under rocket fire, making Gantz, who had become one of other most popular figures in Israel during the war, look like a fool in the eyes of people who have repeatedly and accurately, accused the “government of Tel Aviv” of a policy of abandoning them.

Israel had two stated goals by calling up approximately 75,000 Reservists and transporting tanks and other equipment to the Gaza front  from bases in the north and from near Eilat.

The IDF successfully bombed all of the terror tunnels known to exist. Massive aerial bombing of rocket launching sites, along with artillery fire from tanks and from the Navy, sharply reduced the number of missiles launched at Israel.

There was little to be gained from keeping troops in Gaza because many of the remaining underground missile launchers are being operated electronically from Qatar.

Striking Hamas’ de facto headquarters in Gaza is virtually impossible because their leaders are operating underground, beneath the Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The only to destroy the headquarters is to drop a bunker buster bomb on the hospital.

Moving troops deeper into Gaza would have cost the lives of many soldiers with questionable gains, but the rapid redeployment to the north was both an unofficial and premature declaration of victory and an announcement that Israel was not prepared to escalate the war.

As far back as last Saturday, media reported that Israel was pulling out troops. Netanyahu quickly reassured the nation that the ground operation had not ended and the war would continue until tunnels were destroyed. The military said troops were simply being re-deployed along the Gaza border, but that was true only to a limited extent and for a short period of time.

Negotiations for a ceasefire were taking place at the same minute Netanyahu was saying that the war would continue until its goals were accomplished.

Hamas tried and still is trying to exploit ceasefire talks to negotiate under fire. Dozens of rockets on Israel on Friday and on the Sabbath were met with sporadic aerial bombings, far less than the intense air raids than before the ceasefire.

The rapid retaliation made it clear to Hamas that it will have to compromise on its demands, but the massive withdrawal of tanks to the north and sending home or redeploying soldiers far from Gaza left the government in a far weaker position diplomatically.

Removing the threat of the IDF being able to immediately re-enter Gaza has given Hamas a big advantage because it has given Hamas an incentive to drag out the war. The longer it does so, the more it can count on President Barack Obama to try to undermine the strength of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.

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Imported and Older Comments:

  1. you should have surrounded Gaza never take Hamas at their word.

  2. you should have surrounded Gaza never take Hamas at their word.

  3. Abra Berkson says:

    Is this for real???

  4. Misses Bee says:

    Handle you business Israel. <3

  5. If it was up to me!! Get my guys out of the way and level the place completely. Send all those so-called Palestinians to Jordan!!

  6. Make sure Gaza is clean i.e., no rockets and rat holes.

  7. Maybe a strategic retreat, to clear area for big birtha . Or they just showing who they really are, the defendants that sometimes have to apply force to stop the force that’s being applied to them, you know what happens when the immovable object is hit by the unstoppable force

  8. Go back in BIbi. As Yogi Berra said “it ain’t over ’till it’s over”, and this one sure isn’t over until all of those s are dead or prisoner,a nd every weapon is out of Gaza.

  9. You support sh-t-like a pedophile liar and killer from the seventh century who wrote a piece of trash called the Koran. And you stooges believe it.

  10. IDF has another plan. IAF.

  11. I agree, Harvey Herman. I stand for Israel.

  12. The day will come when gaza will disappear from the face of the earth.

  13. Long live Israel……down with Muslim jihadists all over the world..bunch of savages

  14. It’ll never be over until Hamas is destroyed.

  15. Patricia I am right there with you. Clear the land of all the babies and children the level the place do not leave one cockroach alive.

  16. God bless Israeli!!! 4EVER!!!

  17. Kathy Kupfer says:

    I did not understand that

  18. Kathy Kupfer says:

    I did not understand that

  19. I thought they pulled back because ISIS was on the move and possibility of attack from another direction.

  20. Mary Prine says:

    Gaza is the looser.

  21. Mary Prine says:

    Gaza is the looser.

  22. Israel’s goals were to narrow to be able to call what they accomplished a “victory.” They did NOT reduce the fighting strength of Hamas very much at all. The tunnels, as important as they were, were not the only threat to Israel. Hamas needs to be reduced to a minimal level that cannot fight again or remain a threat. That the south is emptying is a bad thing. Soon, Gazans and Hamas will move by the thousands to take the empty spaces. Then, Israel will once again have traded land for no peace!

  23. Yes true. PM was very concerned about loosing soldiers. Every soldier is precious for Israel. Hamas care a for human life. Hamas love death. Israel love life

  24. Yes true. PM was very concerned about loosing soldiers. Every soldier is precious for Israel. Hamas care a for human life. Hamas love death. Israel love life

  25. It’s not over till Hamas are begging for their very lives

  26. Danial John says:

    Yeah… that strategies part of the “Art of War” tactics.

  27. A clear case of premature ejectulation!

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