Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s War Against Hamas Ends This Week

The news this 150th day of Israel’s war against Hamas seems to mirror the news we have been reporting for the last five months, yet this week may be different.

On the northern border with Lebanon one person was killed, two people were seriously wounded, four others were moderately wounded, and one other person was lightly wounded after an anti-tank missile was fired toward Margaliot in northern Israel earlier this morning, according to Israel’s emergency medical service, Magen David Adom.  The wounded, all Thai workers, were evacuated by helicopter to different hospitals

On Sunday night, Hezbollah claimed that Israeli forces made two attempts to infiltrate into Lebanese territory. The terrorist movement said it fired at and set off explosive devices targeting the troops.  Additionally, on Sunday night, the IDF struck sites belonging to Hezbollah in Ayta ash Shab and Kfarkela.

The IDF announced on Monday that it has destroyed 85% of the strategic tunnels in Khan Yunis. The announcement came shortly after a parallel update that the air force had eliminated a terrorist squad less than 30 minutes after the squad fired rockets toward Hatzerim and Be’eri on Saturday.  All of this came as the IDF on Sunday launched its first full division level attacks in Khan Yunis in many weeks, having achieved general control in early February, and reduced military activities there to smaller scale attacks in recent weeks.  During the large operation in recent days, somewhere between 80 to a couple of hundred Hamas terrorists were arrested, around 35-40 were killed, and several thousand civilians were evacuated.

But it appears to me that while there is a lot of activity, and living in Jerusalem we hear our fighter jets overhead with significant regularity, the war may very well come to an abrupt end later this week.

I’ve written before about the fact that without the US supply of ammunition, rockets and other associated military equipment we would not have been able to respond to Hamas’ October 7th massacre with the intensity that we have seen for the last five months.  Basically, the US gave us the “keys” if you will to their strategic weapons stockpile here in Israel and said “take what you want and when you run out, we will re-supply your needs.”  Had that not been the case military analysts agree that the war would not have lasted longer than a month.

For the support of the US during this period, for the commitment of President Biden to act decisively to make this possible and for his even coming to Israel in the early days of the war to show his support, we need to be eternally grateful.  No other president has been as consistent in support of Israel over such a long period of time and in the face of mounting criticism at home primarily, but not only, from an energized Arab-American voting bloc.

Nevertheless, even though the US continues its consistent support at the UN as well, President Biden and the Democrat Party are not going to risk losing the presidency in November’s election in order to continue to unequivocally support Israel.  We are now seeing the practical side of American politics and how it can and will affect us.

For example, yesterday at an event in Selma, Alabama, Vice President Harris all but said that we could no longer count on unfettered US support.  Her statement that there must be an immediate cease fire and the return of the hostages was clearly meant to signal the administration’s decision to cut off unrestricted support and, thereby respond somewhat to the voters who are threatening to withhold their votes from Biden in the November election.

The visit of former Minister of Defense and member of the War Cabinet, Benny Gantz, to Washington earlier this week at the invitation of the US government, was not to tell him how much they appreciated his judgement and level headed approach to the conduct of the conflict.   My guess is that it was to advise him before the Vice-President’s remarks in Selma that the Administration had changed its position vis-à-vis a cease fire and was no longer comfortable leaving it as an open-ended issue about which only Israel had the right to decide.

Further, the decision late last week to have the US partner with the Jordanians to have US Air Force cargo planes fly over an active combat zone to deliver much needed humanitarian relief to Gazans was yet another way to demonstrate displeasure with how Israel was conducing the war effort.

Truth be told, once the US decides to curtail our supply of war material, we will have no choice but to agree to a cease fire. I believe that will happen before the end of this week so that the fighting will stop as our Muslim cousins begin the holy month of Ramadan on March 10th. If that ends up being the case, there is no telling what that means for remaining almost 140 hostages being held by Hamas. We can only hope that the US will do this in a coordinated effort with the Arab countries with whom we have diplomatic relations and who will then pressure Hamas to fall in line as well. Their financial support is critical to any rebuilding effort so they presumably have a great deal of clout in this situation.  Let’s hope that is the case.

While we say that today is the 150th day of the war, this war is actually a continuation of the war we have been fighting, off and on, for 27,685 days since May 14, 1948.  Perhaps that’s the real count and the one we should be tracking daily.

Coincidentally (or not) on Sunday, when Muslims the world over begin Ramadan, we Jews will begin the month of Adar in which we mark the holiday of Purim.  The holiday, as we recall, celebrates the deliverance of the Jews of Shushan (that is what Iran was called then….nothing changes in the world, does it?) from wicked King Ahasuerus who was intent on killing all of us just because we were Jews.

We can only hope that just as our people were delivered from possible annihilation in Shushan 2,500 years ago, the month of Adar, this year in full confluence with Ramadan, will, somehow or other, mark a new beginning for those of us who call this area home.  May it be so and may we benefit from the prophecy of Isaiah 2:4: “The Lord shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples.   And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

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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