Sherwin Pomerantz

The 172nd Day of Israel’s War Against Hamas

The Hamas terrorist group told mediators on Monday that it was sticking to its demands for a “permanent ceasefire,” hours after praising the passing of a UN Security Council resolution calling for a temporary halt to fighting in Gaza. Israel “did not respond to any of the basic demands of our people and our resistance [Hamas]: a comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced and a real exchange of prisoners,” the terror group said. The terrorist organization further claimed that “Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his extremist government bear full responsibility for thwarting all negotiation efforts and obstructing reaching an agreement so far.”

Jerusalem has dismissed the terror group’s demands, which also include an Israeli military withdrawal from the coastal enclave, a return of displaced Gazans and the release of hundreds of terrorists from Israeli prisons, as “delusional.” Hamas is still holding 134 hostages out of 253 captured during its onslaught on the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7. American, Egyptian, Israeli and Qatari interlocutors have been shuttling to Cairo, Doha and Paris in recent months in an attempt to hash out a ceasefire agreement that would see the release of the remaining abductees.

The Israeli delegation, led by Mossad chief David Barnea, was in the Qatari capital over the weekend amid reports that Jerusalem has softened its stance on critical components of a deal. They were waiting for a response from Hamas’s leadership in Gaza. Barnea and the delegation returned to Israel on Saturday night, however a source later told Reuters that a small group of Mossad officials will remain in Doha for negotiations.

Air raid sirens wailed in the southern city of Ashdod for the first time in two months on Monday afternoon, followed by sirens warning of an incoming suicide drone were heard in the Upper Galilee. The Hamas terror group claimed responsibility for the salvo targeting Ashdod, in which at least eight rockets were fired. According to the Magen David Adom emergency response organization, no Israelis were wounded in the attack. The IDF confirmed that two of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while the remainder of the rockets fell in open areas in and around the city. Ashdod, which is located 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of the Gaza Strip, has been a frequent target of Hamas rocket fire in recent years.

Rockets from Lebanon were launched towards the IDF Aerial Control Unit in the Meron area in the north of Israel, the military said on Tuesday. No casualties were reported, and the event did not obstruct operational activities, the IDF noted. In addition, the military stated three launches were detected towards Avivim with no casualties at the scene. The military further stated it had fired at the sources of the launches. Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli media reported that a winery was heavily damaged in Avivim in Israel’s North as a result of an anti-tank missile. No casualties were reported. The Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese news organization Al-Mayadeen, citing the terror organization, reported Hezbollah claimed to have targeted two buildings in Avivim in response to Israel’s military activities in southern Lebanon.

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday canceled a trip to Washington by an Israeli delegation of top officials after the United Nations Security Council passed its first resolution calling for a Gaza cease-fire. The United States abstained, allowing it to pass. The resolution, backed by 14 nations including China and Russia, demands an immediate cease-fire during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the release of all hostages. Four previous cease-fire resolutions had failed, including one proposed by the United States on Friday.

In this writer’s opinion, the cancellation of the visit was a political blunder given the uninterrupted support of the United States over the last six months which made it possible for us to conduct this war against Hamas. Had we not had that support we would have been “toast” as we did not have a sufficient stockpile of weaponry to do what we needed to do nor did we have the resources to pay for it. While the action of the US in abstaining on the vote was a bad sign for the US-Israel relationship, thumbing one’s nose at the country that has provided this kind of unparalleled support is simply incompetence at the highest level.

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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