The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have begun withdrawing troops from the Gaza Strip in the wake of a controversial ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) demanding Israel to cease operations in Rafah.

According to Ynet, the vaunted Givati Brigade was among the first combat units to redeploy out of the enclave on Saturday night. Officially, the military claims this is simply an operational pause to allow units like the Givati Brigade to “refresh” after weeks of intense urban warfare before redeploying to Gaza.

It comes just days after the ICJ issued an order demanding Israel to immediately halt the “physical destruction” of Arabs in Rafah. While the legal nuances remain unclear, the IDF has seemingly opted to comply, at least temporarily by its withdrawing forces.

For months, Israel has waged an uphill battle to destroy Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure and capabilities, from rocket launches to attack tunnels threatening Israeli civilians.

Some critics have already blasted the retreat as capitulating to Hamas sympathizers at the UN and abandoning Israel’s core right to self-defense. They argue any withdrawal from Gaza simply rewards Hamas’ violence and puts Israeli citizens back in the crosshairs after October 7.

However, others view this as an opportune pause to reassess strategy and devise a decisive path to finally bring the remaining hostages still being held in Gaza back home.

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