Israel Denies that Troop Withdrawals Mean Giving Up on Destroying Hamas

An Israeli tank rolls along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on May 6, 2016 as

The Israeli government denied Monday that the withdrawal of ground forces from southern Gaza on Sunday meant that it was giving up on its plan to attack Hamas in the city of Rafah and destroy the last four terrorist battalions.

Israel pulled out its troops suddenly, leaving only the Nahal Brigade to control a corridor of access from Israel into Gaza, and to prevent movement from southern to northern Gaza, keeping Hamas terrorists bottled up in the south.

The sudden movement was an apparent response to pressure from President Joe Biden, who told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he wanted an “immediate ceasefire” after seven aid workers were inadvertently killed.

The withdrawal also came hours before Israeli negotiators left for Cairo, Egypt, perhaps striking a conciliatory posture in the hope that Hamas would release some of the remaining 130 Israeli hostages from captivity in Gaza.

Israeli officials described the withdrawal as a tactical decision that would allow Israel to prepare to attack Rafah — an attack that the U.S. has opposed without an effort to evacuate civilians.

In response to a question from Breitbart News, Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman said: “I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that we have moved soldiers in and out of anywhere.” He added that “we can move soldiers in and out very easily, and very quickly.”

Hyman added that more humanitarian aid trucks had entered Gaza on Monday than on any day since the start of the war, with over 300 trucks making their way into the territory.

Israeli society finds itself divided after six months of war, thanks to pressure from the United States, slow progress in hostage negotiations, and a resurgent opposition, picking up where it left off in protests over judicial reform in 2023.

On the left, demonstrators blame Netanyahu for slow progress in hostage talks. On the right, ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich say that if Netanyahu does not continue the war, they will collapse the governing coalition.

Asked whether Israelis are united enough to continue the war, Hyman replied that for Israelis, April 8th is really more like October 185th. ” We still feel the pain … we still remember the sights and smells of October 7th.” Israelis were united, he said, in the conviction that the only way to make sure October 7th never happens again is to destroy Hamas. So we will plow ahead to destroy Hamas.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.