Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 116th Day of War

After a relatively long lull in rocket fire from Gaza, a barrage of 10 rockets were fired at the Tel Aviv area on Monday afternoon. It appears that Hamas is taking unexploded Israeli ordnance and sending it back over the border in our direction.  No one was hurt in this latest attack.

The hostage release and cease fire talks on Sunday in Paris seemed to end hopefully. However, on Monday it was reported that Hamas rejected the principles of the agreement and may not be willing to release any of the 136 hostages still in Gaza until Israel agrees to permanently end the war. Yet the Foreign Minister of Qatar said today that there are still avenues open for agreement so….we will see. The story is not over.

Israel Security Agency director Ronen Bar visited Cairo on Monday to discuss the Gaza war effort with the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel, Axios reported. According to two Israeli sources, the security situation along the Philadelphi Corridor was a major focus of the talks, in particular how Cairo and Jerusalem can work together to prevent weapons smuggling across the 14 kilometer (9 mile) buffer running the length of the Gaza-Egypt border to ensure that Hamas is not allowed to rearm. Cairo opposes Israeli military control over the Philadelphi Corridor. Despite Egypt’s denial of the existence of smuggling tunnels beneath it, security officials believe that the Philadelphi Corridor serves as the primary route for weapons bound for Hamas.

Israeli counterterrorism forces foiled an Oct. 7-inspired terror attack early Tuesday, targeting a Palestinian cell hiding and planning the attack from the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin in the West Bank. Wanted Hamas terrorist Mohammad Jalamna, 27, who was in direct communication with Hamas leadership abroad, was killed during the operation. He was responsible for transferring weaponry and ammunition to Hamas terrorists across the West Bank for shooting attacks targeting Israelis.

Regarding the United Nations essentially acknowledging that some of its Gaza-based employees participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, the saga continues. The UN also said that it fired employees over their alleged participation in the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust. But this is virtually guaranteed to be the absolute least of what they will find when investigators open up that can of worms.

It is now clear that UNRWA exists for the purpose of perpetuating war against Israel, and thus is disinclined to believe a word the Israelis say. Given hard evidence of such a convincing nature it had to act immediately.

None of this should be terribly surprising. There is no such thing as an “international” organization in Gaza, because everything becomes an extension of the group once there. The bulk of UNRWA’s money is spent on “education,” and its schools are rife with bald antisemitic incitement and grievance farming. UNRWA teachers have been using a Telegram channel to celebrate the Oct. 7 attacks. And at least one Israeli hostage in Gaza has notified authorities that he was held by an UNRWA teacher.

Then there is the revolving door between UNRWA and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Lazzarini, who runs UNRWA now, had previously worked for the ICRC in Gaza. The incoming director of the Red Cross, Pierre Krahenbuhl, spent years running UNRWA during the time when the schools became regular storage centers for Hamas weapons. UNRWA is inseverable from Hamas as long as Hamas rules Gaza, it’s just that simple. And lest we forget, this is not just some random NGO. It’s the United Nations.

UNRWA is not just corrupt; its existence is a corruption of international laws and norms. It has created its own definition of “refugee” only for Palestinians, because its goal is to keep the conflict unsolved so it can act as a vanguard of the war on the Jewish state. It is a cash conduit to one of the world’s major terrorist groups, which also happens to be an Iranian catspaw. May this be the beginning of a thorough investigation and the end of the west’s complicity in UNRWA’s reign of terror.

On the northern border with Lebanon there continues the tit-for-tat mutual shelling with time running out for a diplomatic solution to getting Hizballah to pull back to north of the Litani River. No one seems to want war with Lebanon, least of all the Lebanese. On the other hand the 100,000 Israeli who were evacuated from northern communities out of an abundance of caution would like to go home but cannot do so until the border is secure.

The good news is that a large number of troops have been brought out of northern Gaza and are returning home to their families. We all owe them an incredible debt of gratitude for not only leaving their families for so long, but putting their lives on the line as well. May the good Lord bless them and their families as we utter thanks for their safe return.

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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