Day 110 of the war in Israel and there does seem to be some movement on the issue of freeing the 130+ hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza. Israel’s offer on Monday of a two month cease fire with the return of the hostages, the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and safe passage out of Gaza for the Hamas leadership was rejected by Hamas.
Earlier today, Wednesday, it was reported on Israel TV that both Israel and Hamas have agreed in principle to working out the details of a 30-day pause in the fighting and the release of all hostages being held in Gaza. Details are still to be worked out and glitches could develop, but it is a hopeful sign.
In the north an undeclared war is festering all along the hill country that separates Israel and Lebanon. It involves nearly as many troops as the war in the Gaza Strip. So far, it’s a largely static battle of missiles, artillery, bombing raids and stealthy infiltration. Hezbollah hasn’t unleashed its long-range firepower. Israel hasn’t ordered forward its tanks. But the fighting has intensified this month. Nobody knows how long the border battle can continue before the gloves come off.
“We don’t yet have a name for it,” Israeli Commander Razili said of the cross-border conflict—but across northern Israel and in southern Lebanon, people are starting to call it a war. US diplomats are trying, fruitlessly so far, to broker a cease-fire based on Hezbollah pulling back its fighters from Israel’s doorstep. The militant Shia movement has vowed to carry on firing missiles at Israel for as long as Israeli forces are fighting in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, an ally of Hezbollah and its backer Iran. Washington has urged Israel not to launch a ground assault on southern Lebanon. Hezbollah, caught off guard by events since Oct. 7, is looking to avoid all-out war by restricting its attacks to towns and military bases in a strip across Israel’s north. But Israel says it will have no choice but to drive Hezbollah away from its border unless there’s an unexpected diplomatic breakthrough. It would seem that we will not be able to wait much longer to begin military action there as well.
On the border between Gaza and Egypt, Cairo earlier this week voiced its strenuous objections to any Israeli attempt to take control of the Philadelphi Corridor, the nine-mile road along the Egypt-Gaza border. The announcement comes as the IDF moves southward through Gaza, and will soon have to drive Hamas out of the border city of Rafah while finding a way to end subterranean smuggling from the Sinai Peninsula, which appears to continue despite Egypt’s efforts to stop it. Time will tell how this plays out.
Seeking Future Leadership
Yet another person of interest when seeking potential leaders for the state is Col. (Ret.) Miri Eisin, the Managing Director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. She served in the Israeli intelligence community and retired from active duty wirh the rank of full colonel in 2004. Over her twenty-year career in the military, she served as the deputy head of the combat intelligence corps, the personal assistant to the director of military intelligence, and as the intelligence officer in combat units and research departments.
After retiring from the military Eisin served as the Israeli Prime Minister’s international media advisor from the Second Lebanon War until the end of 2007. Over the last ten years, Eisin has been one of Israel’s main presenters, speaking on regional geopolitics and security-related issues in the media worldwide. She teaches at Reichman University in Herzliya and works extensively with the media, student groups, and diplomats. Miri is also a fellow at the Center for International Communication at Bar Ilan University.
Eisin holds a BA from Tel Aviv University in Middle Eastern studies and Political Science, an MA from Haifa University in Security studies, and is a graduate of the Israeli National Defense College.
Her presence in a future Israeli government would add much to the expertise and maturity that will be critical as we recover from this long and ghastly war.