Apparently choosing neither a negotiated settlement nor to continue suffering high-profile troop deaths, the Israeli military is withdrawing the majority of its ground troops from the Gaza Strip.
Hopes that this is a “winding down” of the war may be premature, however, as Israel continues to hammer the southern Gaza city of Rafah, killing large numbers of people, and seems rather to be trying to reset the conflict to its pre-invasion strategy of bombardment without boots on the ground.
1,849 Palestinians have been killed so far in the Gaza war, the overwhelming majority of them civilians, and over 20 percent of them children under the age of 18. On the Israeli side, 67 have been killed, 64 of them troops.
The Israeli cabinet is keeping its intentions right now unclear, having called for escalations on Friday and then talked up withdrawing troops Saturday. The only constant has been an aversion to a negotiated settlement.
That too points to the Israeli desire to get the war back to a more manageable siege, with fewer troops to be targets for gun battles and more shelling of what remains of the strip’s infrastructure.