Israel reduces forces along Gaza border despite uncertainty

Israel says it will reduce its build-up of forces along the Gaza border.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

On Sunday, Israel announced it would reduce additional forces it had amassed along the Gaza border last month following a missile that struck a home in central Israel and the then-approaching one-year anniversary of weekly Hamas riots.

In the last week of March, the Israel Defense Forces called up two additional brigades, an artillery battalion and a number of reservists in a build-up of forces.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the U.S. to meet with President Trump and address the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, cut his trip short to return and deal with the crisis.

Although the Army is diminishing its forces along the border, it said in a statement that “The IDF continues to be highly prepared to act quickly according to need and situation assessment.”

The current situation is being described as one of relative calm.

However, on Friday the Hamas terror group again instigated riots along the border in which some 7,400 Palestinians participated. Palestinian news sources said a 15-year-old was shot and killed during the riots.

Also, according to the Palestinian paper Al-Quds, the terrorist leadership is debating whether to restart nightly riots and the launching of incendiary kites and balloons. The pretext is that Israel has not increased the amount and variety of goods that can be brought into the Gaza Strip as the Palestinians say it has promised.

On March 31, Israel agreed to open the Gaza border crossings and extend the area available to Gaza fisherman in an effort to relieve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip as Egyptian and U.N. mediators attempted to negotiate a ceasefire.

Israeli Cabinet minister Yoav Galant, a member of the Likud party, said at the time that while Israel had to prevent attacks on Israeli children, it also had to “keep in mind that an improved humanitarian situation in Gaza is in Israel’s best interests.”