Sherwin Pomerantz

Hamas Says No Once Again

The Hamas terror group has rejected a ceasefire proposal brokered by the United States, according to a Saudi media outlet, because the deal does not require Israel to commit to a permanent halt to the war. President Biden pushed the outline – which would see a cessation of fighting, the return of the Israeli captives held for eight months in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of hundreds or thousands of Palestinian terror prisoners, and a rehabilitation plan for the coastal enclave in a recent speech.

The Biden administration has stressed that Israel more-or-less accepted the terms of the deal and that the “onus is on Hamas” to accept the agreement. But according to a Saudi news report, Hamas has officially rejected the deal because it lacks a clause that would force Israel to declare a permanent end to this round of hostilities, with an American guarantee that Jerusalem would abide by that commitment.

A Hamas source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, said Israel had made fundamental changes to the American proposal, with terms that were unacceptable to the terror group. “Israel is manipulating. They want a temporary truce, then the war will resume. They use ambiguous texts that are open to interpretation,” the source said.  The terror group objects to an additional condition of the outline, which would see Israeli soldiers remain in the Strip while captives are freed. According to the Hamas source, the terror group is demanding a full withdrawal of all Israeli military assets and personnel from the coastal enclave, which must occur before hostages are freed. Not clear where things go from here.

On Wednesday morning, a serious incident unfolded in Hurfeish in Northern Israel, where a combined attack involving a rocket and a UAV injured 11 people, some severely. This precision strike by Hezbollah marks a dangerous escalation in their tactics, revealing a deadly evolution in their capabilities. Hezbollah’s precision strikes on Hurfeish illustrate their ongoing efforts to test and improve their weapons while experimenting with different methods of attack. This recent escalation is part of a broader effort over the past eight months, during which Hezbollah has launched approximately 4,000 projectiles at Israel. These attacks have increasingly involved not just rockets but also precision-guided munitions and drones.

Hezbollah’s arsenal, once dominated by simpler, older rockets, now includes advanced precision weapons and anti-tank missiles. This shift allows them to strike specific targets with deadly accuracy. By combining different types of weapons, they can cause maximum disruption and damage. For example, they might use “dumb” rockets to trigger sirens and then deploy precision drones to target areas where people are seeking shelter.

The IDF said on Thursday that the approximately 20-30 Palestinians killed by its airstrike on an UNRWA school in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip earlier in the morning were likely all or mostly terrorists. According to the IDF, airstrikes attacked three specific locations within the compound which different groups of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were using as command centers and staging areas for planning and carrying out attacks on the IDF defense line separating northern and central Gaza.

In addition, the IDF said that it would, late Thursday, publish the names of many of the terrorists it had identified at the location, to demonstrate that they were in fact combatants and not innocent civilians. Further, the IDF said that it was continuing to review the incident to make sure that a small number of civilians were not also killed along with the terrorists.

However, the IDF said that so far, both before and after the operation, intelligence has indicated that the targets, the terrorists, were killed by a precise planned strike in an area separate from where all or most of the civilians were residing. The IDF said that the operation had been planned for many days and that it was even called off and delayed twice to get more exact intelligence and to be more sure that civilians would not be harmed. In addition, the IDF said that among the terrorists were specific terrorists who participated in the October 7 massacre.

In looking at the effort to secure a ceasefire, it is important to bear in mind that the goal of one side in the discussions remains the elimination of the sovereign nation of Israel. Hamas’s 1988 charter continues to call for Israel’s destruction. Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose wealth subsidizes Hamas’s military operations, has said, “The perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region.” It remains so. World opinion should impose more pressure on Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar. So it seems we are back to square one with the ordeal of the hostages continuing, the disappointment of their families palpable and our troops continuing to be in harm’s way. While we have accomplished a lot in the 244 days since October 7th, the ultimate goal seems to still be out of reach. Not sure why the leaders of some nations think it is important to recognize the non-existent State of Palestine while avoiding their clear responsibility to stop providing any support to Hamas as they continue to subject their own people to fear, homelessness and despair. Logic is now a rare commodity but needed more than ever.

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.
Related Topics
Related Posts