Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 58th Day of War

On this 58th day of the war, with the hostage negotiations in Qatar having ended, the IDF reports 137 hostages remaining under Hamas control in Gaza. They include 115 men, 20 women, and 2 children. Hamas’ breaking of the agreement that made the pause possible was the catalyst that ended the modified rapprochement of the last week. Hamas now says there will be no more hostages release until the war ends and all of the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails are released, a demand that Israel will not accept.

Rockets roared out of Gaza at 5:45 AM on Friday morning both shattering the quiet along the Gaza border and the pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.  Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told a press conference, “We have picked up the fighting where we left off.” Israel has resumed attacking targets they had in their sights before the pause and then to push into south Gaza. On Friday morning Hamas fired over 50 rockets into Israel. Some reached as far as Ashkelon. Many rockets fell along the Gaza border causing significant damage to property but no injuries.

At approximately 2:00 PM Hamas sent another volley into Israel. One rocket hit an army jeep injuring three soldiers. Another blasted into a van parked meters from a home where residents had been just minutes before, fleeing when the siren sounded. Yet another rocket fell in a patio just meters from another house.

At 4 PM Hamas unleashed another barrage of rockets at Israel’s south, with rockets reaching as far as the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The rocket attacks continued sporadically on Friday night and on Saturday morning, afternoon and evening as well. Also, at 4:35 PM on Friday, Hezbollah also sent rockets into Kiryat Shmona from their Lebanese military positions. Rocket fire continued on Shabbat. On Saturday night Hamas sent a volley of rockets towards the Dan region, reaching as far as Tel Aviv. Today, Sunday, there have been a steady stream of Red Alerts on my cell phone indicating continued rocket fire from Gaza at southern coastal communities of Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces struck Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to attacks on northern Israel Saturday, a day after the seven-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas lapsed. Though Hezbollah was not party to the truce, it halted its attacks during the past week leading Israel to also stop its military actions, but once again began assaulting Israel’s north after the Gaza pause collapsed. Earlier in the day, two mortars were fired from Lebanon at the northern community of Shomera. Both projectiles landed in open areas, causing no injuries. In both instances, the IDF said it shelled the source of fire with artillery. The military also said it carried out airstrikes against terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon. Cross border activity continued today as well.

In addition to the situation on both the northern and southern borders, Hamas has called for their “countrymen” living in the West Bank to actively support Hamas’ struggle by taking up armed resistance against Israel. This potential third front of the war is of concern, as well, to the government leadership here

Meanwhile at the COP-28 climate change conference currently under way in Dubai, UD Vice Preisdet Kamala Harris spoke in terms that indicate a softening of the US resolve to fully support Israel in our effort against Hamas. It is not clear at this moment whether this indicates a change in direction of the US position or simply some nice words to pacify the Muslim electorate in the US. Time will tell.

The bottom line today is that Israel is back in a war footing targeting positions both in the northern and southern sections of Gaza. It would appear then that a reduction in hostilities is not something any of us will see soon.

As always let us hope that the price we pay for this war for our survival will be the smallest one possible. May our troops come home safely.

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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