Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 67th Day of War

On the 67th day of the war the IDF reports that there have now been 105 of our soldiers killed since the start of the Hamas war.  In addition, the IDF has successfully retrieved the bodies of former captives Eden Zecharia and soldier Ziv Dado from Gaza.  To date 500 Hamas terrorists have either surrendered or been captured.

The IDF has also begun pumping seawater into the Hamas tunnel complex in Gaza, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday citing unnamed US officials as the source, adding that the process would likely take weeks. Some Biden administration officials have said the process could help destroy rhe tunnels, where Israel believes the terrorist group is hiding hostages, fighters and munitions, the Journal reported.

Three rockets were fired from Syria toward Israeli territory on Tuesday evening, with two falling in Syria and one falling in an open area in Israel, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.  The IDF responded to the rocket fire by targeting the locations from where the rockets were fired.  Strong explosions were heard in the Quneitra Governorate near the Syrian-Israeli border and sites belonging to Iranian militias in the area were hit by IDF artillery fire, according to Syrian journalist Nour Abo Hassan.

US President Biden warned Israel’s leaders on Tuesday that they were losing international support for their war in Gaza, exposing a widening rift with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who rejected out of hand the American vision for a postwar resolution to the Palestinian conflict.  Mr. Biden delivered the blunt assessment of Israel during a fund-raiser in Washington, where he described Netanyahu as the leader of “the most conservative government in Israel’s history” that “doesn’t want a two-state solution” to the country’s long-running dispute with Palestinians.

“I think he has to change, and with this government, this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move,” Mr. Biden said.

The president’s remarks came hours after Netanyahu pledged to defy weeks of American pressure to put the Palestinian Authority in charge of Gaza once the fighting ends. Israel ruled out any role there for the group, which now governs Palestinian society in Judea and Samaria.

“There is disagreement about ‘the day after Hamas,’” Netanyahu said in a video statement posted on social media. He said he hoped the two governments could reach an agreement about what happens after the war ends, but vowed not to allow threats to Israel’s population to continue.

“After the great sacrifice of our civilians and our soldiers, I will not allow the entry into Gaza of those who educate for terrorism, support terrorism and finance terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan.

Even though at this point it appears that Israel is, indeed, winning the war, questions remain.  It is not clear what our plan is for after the war, nor what we intend to do with the hundreds of Hamas fighters we have captured and those yet to be captured.   It is also clear that this government cannot remain in power after the war ends.  If the coalition collapses, as it seems it will, will new post-war elections bring people into power who now how to move Israeli society forward with deliberation, dedication and understanding?  We can only hope that this will be the case.

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.