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February 18, 2024

Israel to withdraw some troops from Gaza but expects fighting will continue through 2024

Israel has announced plans to draw down some of its troops in the Gaza Strip, but the military expects continued fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave through 2024. The plan was announced as part of a larger drawdown of troops along the Gaza border as part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's peace plan. Under the terms of the plan, Israeli forces are set to withdraw to the northern and eastern edges of the Gaza Strip, pull back from four settlements in the southern Gaza Strip, and reduce the number of soldiers patrolling the area. However, Israeli military officials expect that fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants will continue through 2024. The military believes that while the drawdown of troops will reduce the risk of an all-out war, it will not bring an end to the conflict. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that "Israel will not exercise its sovereignty over Gaza," and that while the military may opt for a defensive posture, it will remain vigilant and ready to respond firmly to any aggression. The precise timeline and extent of the drawdown remain undefined, but the plans indicate that the drawdown should conclude by 2024. The future of the Gaza Strip remains uncertain, and it is unclear how much influence Israel will be able to exert over the outcome.