Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 81st Day of War

On this 81st day of war in Israel, we have suffered over 160 casualties from the fighting with no end in sight. To date Hamas has fired over 13,000 rockets into Israel since the start of the war with approximately 2,000 of them having fallen within Gaza and causing a large number of casualties there. Hamas still holds 129 hostages and it is known that 22 hostages have been murdered by Hamas during their time in Gaza.

In an address to a Knesset plenum Monday attended by families of the hostages,  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described how an International Red Cross Representative told him “no” when he asked her to deliver crucial medicine to hostages.

“I met with the Red Cross; I handed over a box of medicine for some of the hostages. Some of them really need it.” He continued, “I told a representative to take this box to Rafah; she said no. It was a difficult conversation.”

Netanyahu’s account of the Red Cross flatly refusing to deliver medicine and aid to hostages is consistent with testimonies by hostage families who recounted similar interactions with the humanitarian organization. According to the Geneva Convention, the role of the Red Cross in a war zone is to visit the hostages, deliver medical supplies, and bring updates to families.

To date the United States has delivered more than 10,000 tons of military weapons and equipment to Israel since the start of the war on Oct. 7, Channel 12 reported on Monday. These shipments have arrived in 244 cargo planes and on 20 ships. According to the report, Israel’s Defense Ministry has acquired nearly $2.8 billion in additional materiel from the United States. This includes “armored vehicles, armaments, personal protective equipment, medical supplies, ammunition and more.” Additionally, the report states that Israel’s military production lines are working around the clock during the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday presented conditions for peace between Israel and the Palestinians: 1) the destruction of Hamas; 2) the demilitarization of Gaza and 3) the deradicalization of Palestinian society. “These are the three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

He argued that because Hamas has promised to repeat Oct. 7 “again and again” the only proportional response is to completely eliminate it. He warned that “unjustly blaming” Israel for civilian casualties “will only encourage Hamas and other terror organizations around the world to use human shields. To render this cruel and cynical strategy ineffective, the international community must place the blame for these casualties squarely on Hamas. It must recognize that Israel is fighting the bigger battle of the civilized world against barbarism.”

Israel’s military announced today that they expected some retaliation from Iran for the killing over the weekend of a senior IRGC officer at his Damascus home. Iran’s president has warned of retaliation against Israel, although it is not clear what form it will take.

What has been most revealing over the last days, is the incredible support being provided by the troops in the IDF and their commitment to see the battle with Hamas through to the end as elucidated by the government. After almost 12 weeks of fighting morale remains high and commitment to battle remains strong. May their efforts be blessed and the outcome be successful.

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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