Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 108th Day of War

108 days into the war with almost 200 Israeli soldiers dead, Defense Minister Gallant said today that the IDF is “hot on the heels” of the Hamas leadership in the Khan Yunis area.  He also told the families of the hostages that the IDF is getting closer to where the remaining hostages are being held giving the families hope for some near-term resolution of that issue.  Time will tell how accurate that is.

On a related note, Brett McGurk, the US National Security Council’s coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, headed to the region on Sunday for talks with Egyptian and Qatari officials on another deal to release the remaining hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  McGurk’s first stop was Cairo, where he was expected to meet with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamel. He will then fly to Doha to meet with the country’s prime minister and foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

On the northern border with Lebanon, Israel is saying that time is running out for a diplomatic solution and Hezbollah has until the end of January to pull back from the border.  If they do not do so, the IDF is prepared to move in and clear a buffer zone between Israel and the Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, so that the evacuated residents from the north can return safely to their homes.

An on line editorial in today’s Jerusalem Post noted that…..

At the beginning of the war, it was as if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden were in sync for the first time since this government was formed.  But as expected, this honeymoon didn’t last very long.  Though Biden has been devoted to Israel and has invested time, funds, and military assistance towards the war effort, the two have reached a point where they haven’t been in direct contact for weeks, according to several sources.

“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over all the territory west of [the] Jordan [River] – and this runs contrary to a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday night.  It was the third time he had spoken about the issue in the 48-hour-period.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister’s Office provided further details, stating that in his discussion with Biden, Netanyahu reaffirmed a stance he has maintained for a long time.  The PMO explained: “After Hamas is eliminated, Israel must retain full security control of the Gaza Strip to ensure that Gaza won’t pose a threat to Israel, and this conflicts with the demand for Palestinian sovereignty.”

Netanyahu, who is already thinking of the next election, added in a press conference on Saturday night that “those who speak of the day after Netanyahu, are talking about the creation of a Palestinian state led by the Palestinian Authority.”

According to the Jerusalem Post editorial staff, Netanyahu must decide what his agenda is. What is the endgame for this brutal war? Is it a one-state solution? A two-state solution? Is Israel’s agenda that the countries in the region absorb millions of Palestinian refugees?

Three months ago, we wouldn’t pressure Netanyahu about focusing on the future, since it was clear to most Israelis that Israel needed to enter this war, defeat Hamas, and release our citizens and soldiers being held captive.

But more than three months later, thousands of our brothers and sisters were killed or severely wounded, and the dead-end junction that we can all see ahead has caused us to speak up.

We urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to decide on a clear and solid agenda for the near and long-term future. As the conflict drags on with its heavy toll, the Israeli public’s patience is wearing down. The ongoing war has not only cost numerous lives, but also raised questions about the long-term strategy of the Netanyahu administration.  Indeed!!!

 Seeking Future Leadership

 Dr. Cochav Elkayam Levy, established and heads Israel’s Civil Commission on Oct. 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women and Children; In her speech before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, she represented Israel’s women’s rights movement.

Dr. Elkayam Levy is the principal author of the National Report on Gender Mainstreaming in Times of Emergencies, which was adopted by Israel. in a historic government decision in June 2022. She was selected as one of the most promising young leaders under 40 in Israel by The Marker Magazine in 2022 (Ha’aretz).

Dr. Elkayam-Levy is the Sophie Davis Fellow on Gender, Conflict Resolution and Peace at the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; She teaches human rights law, international law, climate justice and feminist theories at Hebrew U and at Reichman University; She is the Founding Head of Dvora Institute for Gender and Sustainability studies; A Senior Fellow, at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem; SJD and former Human Rights Scholar of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Former Perry World House Fellow; A Salzburg Global Fellow for Oustanding Scholars in International Law, Washington DC;  and a member of the President’s new Climate Forum;

She holds an LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, (Distinction Honors); is the recipient of Penn Law’s Human Rights Scholarship Award; holds an LL.B, and B.A. (magna cum laude), with joint degrees in Law and Political Science.

Any government would be happy to have here as an advisor.  Let’s hope our next one will be smart enough to figure that out as well.

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.