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IDF did not divert troops to Judea and Samaria before Oct. 7

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Forces in Samaria were reinforced as part of a quarterly IDF schedule approved some two months before the Hamas massacre, according to an internal military document.


The Israel Defense Forces did not redeploy troops from the Gaza border to Judea and Samaria in the days leading up to Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, according to an internal military document published on Tuesday.

In December, Dan Harel, who headed the IDF’s Southern Command during the 2005 Gaza disengagement and was later promoted to deputy chief of staff, cast blame on Religious Zionism Party Knesset member Zvi Sukkot for the army’s lack of preparedness on Oct. 7. Harel claimed that forces were moved from the Gaza border to Huwara in Samaria to protect a protest tent set up by the lawmaker.

Sukkot had set up the Jewish sukkah in the flashpoint Arab town on Oct. 5 after a series of Palestinian attacks, including a terror shooting that targeted an Israeli man, his pregnant wife and their 18-month-old child.

Harel’s remarks took a life on their own, with pro-Palestinian activists on social media spreading the claim that Hamas terrorists succeeded in murdering 1,200 people on Oct. 7 because the border was unprotected due to the need to protect Jewish “settlers” in Judea and Samaria.

To dispel the claim, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan filed a request under Israel’s Freedom of Information Law demanding the release of documents relating to the IDF’s manpower considerations.

Israel Hayom on Tuesday published records indicating that no Israeli troops were transferred from the Gaza border area to Samaria on Oct. 6.

The document proves that the transfer of the forces to reinforcement positions in Samaria was part of a quarterly IDF schedule approved some two months before the Hamas massacre, and amid an uptick in deadly terror attacks in the areas surrounding Huwara, according to the daily.

Dagan decried what he called the “tarnishing of the communities and the false impression that there is some responsibility for the massacre, by claiming that the pioneering residents of Judea and Samaria are sinning by settling the Land of Israel and wanting to live in safety.”

Dagan demanded that those responsible for spreading “immense hatred in a time of war” issue an apology to Judea and Samaria communities.

Sukkot told Israel Hayom, “It is unbelievable that during the difficult days of the most difficult war in our history, individuals were making false accusations against the residents of Judea and Samaria and myself personally. I am happy that the truth has come out.”

In December, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stressed that there was no substantial change in the number of soldiers securing the Gaza frontier ahead of the Oct. 7 cross-border onslaught.

“The deployment of the forces that carry out regular operational activities [on the border of] the Gaza Strip did not change before Oct. 7,” Hagari told reporters at a press conference.

Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in Palestinian terrorist attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, per IDF data.

Image: Israeli soldiers block the entrance to the village of Beita in northern Samaria during searches for the terrorist who carried out an attack in Huwara, on Aug. 20, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

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