On the 122nd day of the war there is still no agreement on terms of a temporary cease-fire and the return of hostages by Hamas. The response from Hamas expected last night did not materialize and it is not clear how close or how far apart the parties are to an agreement.
The IDF reports that it is almost in complete control of Khan Yunis in the center of Gaza and it will soon complete this aspect of the fighting. Diplomatic efforts continue as well in the north with the US trying to get Hezbollah to pull back from the border and avoid an all-out skirmish with Israel. Meanwhile there are continual exchanges of fire on the norther border with Lebanon.
An editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal said “Israel is winning its war in Gaza. Hamas’s losses are mounting, and support for the Israeli war effort has endured around the world longer than Hamas expected. The war is far from over, but Hamas’s southern stronghold of Khan Younis is falling. Civilians have streamed out and Hamas’s remaining forces in the city’s west are encircled. They face an Israeli advance on all sides, and Israel is now fighting below ground in force.”
The article goes on to say “Israel says it has killed, incapacitated or arrested some 20,000 of Hamas’s 30,000 men and dismantled 17 of Hamas’s 24 Gazan combat battalions. The losses have prevented Hamas from mounting military maneuvers and quieted its rocket fire, down more than 95% from the war’s early days.” The question all of us ask is if we remain in Gaza to finish the job, as the IDF has advised, will U.S. political support hold? The Biden administration, whatever it says publicly, continues to provide munitions and diplomatic cover that it would have a hard time withdrawing. The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris poll finds that large majorities of Americans support Israel and its war aims. In Europe, the elected leaders there are also holding the line, and no Arab state has quit the Abraham Accords. And no one is pushing for a cease-fire. Even the United Nations International Court of Justice balked at ordering a cease-fire. Let’s hope these analysts are correct.
Another person worth watching for the future is Nadav Tamir. He has dedicated his career to public service, joining the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 1993 and serving in multiple roles, including Political Officer at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. In 2006, he was named Israeli Consul General to New England, a position he held until 2010.
Upon returning to Israel, he joined the Policy Planning Unit of the Israeli Foreign Ministry where he served until accepting the position of senior adviser to the president under Shimon Peres.
Nadav is an adviser for international affairs at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. He’s a member of the board of the Mitvim think tank and the steering committee of the Geneva Initiative.
Nadav earned his MA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner fellow and his BA in philosophy and political science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
He is also the head of the Israel Chapter of JStreet, No doubt some of my readers will wonder why I would feature someone who has been in support of the JStreet vision for Israel. I understand the concern but, since October 7th Israel has seen a convergence of varied opinions about the future into a singular cause, that is to win the war and maintain the unity that emerged here on October 8th. Given that, the pre-October 7th association with JStreet should no longer taint the reputation of talented people who are capable of helping to create a rejuvenated post-war Israel.
Let us hope that Israel will be open to put the best people it has where they are needed and get past the pre-war prejudices that caused so much civil unrest.