Sherwin Pomerantz

As the world turns against us

The headlines this morning are depressing at best, but our youth will take us out that depression.

The governments of Ireland, Norway, and Spain have taken the rare step of recognizing the state of Palestine. And where is this existing state of Palestine? Well, according to Irish prime minister Simon Harris, it doesn’t physically exist yet: “We had hoped to recognize Palestine as part of a two-state peace deal, but instead we will recognize Palestine to keep the hope of that two-state solution alive.”

In other words, the Irish government hopes to recognize a real state, but for the time being it will recognize an imaginary one. If the Irish premier is right, however, he just solved the conflict. There’s no need to worry about keeping the two-state solution alive, because he just recognized the two states. Of course, if he doesn’t believe the state has borders yet, where is he going to put the embassy? Just asking.

Recognizing the State of Palestine while Hamas is in power explicitly and literally empowers and legitimizes Hamas as a governing entity and clearly gives them a reward for their terror onslaught of October 7th. There is no wiggle room there. So, asked why he would legitimize Hamas now, Harris made clear that he didn’t really think about that part: “Hamas is not the Palestinian people, and here in Ireland, better than most countries in the world, we know what it’s like when a terrorist organization seeks to hijack your identity and seeks to speak for you.”  I am not so sure.

So, the point of timing the announcement now was to save Hamas by stopping the war before the terror group loses control of the Gaza Strip. The three governments sought to legitimize Hamas, yes, but even more so they wanted to take action that might rescue Hamas from defeat and keep it in power in this new State of Palestine.

Well, let’s talk a bit more about Hamas.  As we all are aware by now, the US military built a pier for Gaza (in cooperation with the Israeli government, by the way, which tends to get glossed over in the news reports), the intent being to increase the amount of humanitarian aid entering the Strip.  The good news is that the pier is operative and food is being delivered to it.  The bad news is that seems to be the only part of the process that works. Before the trucks ferrying the food can reach their warehouse destination a few miles away, they are robbed and looted and emptied of their goodies by….of course, Hamas operatives.

On Wednesday, US Department of Defense press secretary Major Gen. Patrick Ryder was asked if any—any—of the aid delivered to the pier has actually reached the people of Gaza. His response: “I do not believe” it has.  Reuters expanded on this with more detail.

According to a report in Reuters, The U.N. said that 16 truckloads of food aid — transported from the pier site by U.N. contractors — were received on Friday (May 17th) at a World Food Program warehouse in Deir El Balah in Gaza.  But on Saturday, only five truckloads made it to the warehouse after 11 others were cleaned out by Palestinians during the journey through an area that a U.N. official said has been hard to access with humanitarian aid.

“They’ve not seen trucks for a while,” a U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. “They (i.e. Hamas) just basically mounted the trucks and helped themselves to some of the food parcels.”

Here in Israel, we know from local reporting and videos filmed in Gaza, that ultimately these goods, which were commandeered by Hamas operatives, ended up for sale in kiosks there at prices five or ten times their normal retail value, all clearly marked “Humanitarian Aid-Not For Resale.”  And now people want to reward them by recognizing them as a state?  Seriously?

Then in today’s press we see that Germany says it will arrest PM Netanyahu if the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues warrants for him and other Israeli leaders.  German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesperson, Steffen Hebestreit, was asked on Wednesday if the German government would execute an ICC arrest order against PM Netanyahu for alleged war crimes during the Swords of Iron (i.e. Hamas) war.  Hebestreit said, “Of course. Yes, we abide by the law.”

This is outrageous! The German ‘Staatsräson’ is now being put to the test—no ifs, ands or buts.  Staatsräson is the German word that refers to Germany’s pledge to ensure Israel’s security is part of its national security and interests. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared during her 2008 Knesset speech that Israel is part of Germany’s raison d’etre—or state of being.

The International Criminal Court was formed in response to Nazi Germany’s extermination of 6 million Jews. Germany is a generous donor to the ICC. The possibility that a German government would arrest and deport an Israeli Prime Minister and defense minister if they stepped foot on German soil in light of the country’s Hitler movement history has triggered shocking reports in the German media and on social media, as well it should have.

Finally, the families of the almost 130 hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza released a 3.5-minute video taken by the Hamas terrorists themselves when they invaded Israel on October 7th and captured the young women manning a listening post on the border.  You can see the video below as part of an article in the Times of Israel earlier today…..

Warning: Graphic content

While the video is heartbreaking and emotionally challenging the young women involved are inspiring.  These are young women about the same age as those demonstrating against Israel on college campuses worldwide.  Although painful to watch, and we are clearly not doing enough to free those who remain held in Gaza, the courage of these young women is palpable and speaks to their dedication to their country and their responsibilities.  I wonder how many of their counterparts worldwide would be so committed if put to the test?

My sense is that we can be optimistic about the future knowing that the youth will save us.  Helen Keller once said, “It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance it allotted length.”  The young women we saw in that video, emblematic of our future, is what can make us optimistic and gives us hope in these troubling times.  May we be worthy to see that happen.

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 32 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, regional entities and Invest Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Former Chairperson of the Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and a Board Member of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.
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