Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered troops to redeploy and continue the invasion of the Gaza Strip, though reports of some of the troops being moved out of the strip are a sign Israel is winding down the war.
Netanyahu denied that the war was coming to an end, but said it would continue “only on the basis of security considerations,” and that “all options are open” for further escalation.
The Israeli military’s operations today centered on shelling of the southern city of Rafah, with the Gaza Health Ministry putting the overall death toll in the war at 1,712 Gazans, 398 of them children under the age of 18. Over 9,000 have been wounded. The Israeli toll remains unchanged today, at 67 killed, 64 of them soldiers.
The apparent Israeli strategy at this point is to draw down the Gaza War to an eventual halt without any negotiated settlement, to avoid having to make any concessions on the blockade of the Gaza economy in a ceasefire.
It’s a considerable change from the take as recently as last night, when Israeli officials were hyping the “kidnapping” of a soldier, who in reality was killed earlier in the day, as a justification for escalation. By this morning, however, Israeli media were poking holes in the kidnapping story, and the military eventually conceded that the soldier was slain. Not long thereafter, reports emerged of troops leaving the strip.
The war, it seems, is simply stumbling toward a vague end, with massive death tolls and no resolution. Though Egypt is continuing to push their plan for a ceasefire, there are no longer any indications Israel is interested in coming to any deal under any conditions.