Sherwin Pomerantz

The 188th Day of War in Israel

Hamas has informed mediators that it rejects the latest US proposal for a renewed hostages-for-ceasefire deal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing sources as saying that the terrorist organization intends to put forward a roadmap for a permanent end to the war.  The US offer would have seen Jerusalem release 900 terrorist prisoners, including murderers, in exchange for 40 hostages, along with a partial IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the unrestricted return of Palestinians to the northern part of the coastal enclave.  The plan proposed that Hamas would release more hostages at a later stage following the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza.

CNN reported on Wednesday that the terror group claims it is currently unable to track down 40 living female, elderly and sick captives to release in the first batch in a possible hostage release deal.  Israel has pushed for Hamas to fill out the initial release with younger male hostages, including IDF soldiers, an official in Jerusalem told CNN.

Officials in Jerusalem believe that the IDF withdrawal from Khan Younis and the flood of humanitarian aid into Gaza have hurt the chances that Hamas will agree to a hostage release deal, Ynet reported Wednesday.  “We gave up our strong cards for nothing,” the outlet quoted the Israeli sources as saying. “Hamas is digging in with its demands for an end to the war and a troop withdrawal, and is determined to play tricks with the mediators,” the sources continued.

US and allied intel sources told Bloomberg on Wednesday that a large-scale attack by Iran against Israel is imminent, expected in the coming days.  The report from the news organization struck a tone of urgency, suggesting it is now a question of when, not if, Iran will strike either government or military targets inside Israel using drones or high-precision missiles.  The report, based on anonymous sources, did not specify if the attack would come directly from Tehran or via proxy extremist groups such as Hezbollah.

Israel’s foreign minister said emphatically on Wednesday that we would strike Iran directly if the Islamic Republic launched an attack from its territory against Israel, as tensions flare following the killings of Iranian generals in a blast at the Iranian consulate in Syria.

As the senior US military commander in charge of the Middle East, Gen. Erik Kurilla plans to travel to Israel today to meet with Israeli officials to coordinate a response to a potential attack on Israel by Iran and its proxy groups, Axios reported.  Two Israeli officials told the outlet that the commander of U.S. Central Command, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other senior Israel Defense Forces officials plan to meet.  Intelligence reports from the United States have said Iran will strike either government or military targets inside Israel using drones or high precision missiles in the coming days. The report did not specify if the attack will come directly from Tehran or one of its proxy groups such as Hezbollah.

The IDF conducted a targeted operation in central Gaza on Wednesday night while fighter jets and aircraft attacked dozens of terror infrastructures above and below ground, the IDF announced on Thursday.  Furthermore, combat teams of the Brigade 401, Nahal, and other units under the 162nd Division operated in central Gaza on Wednesday night, eliminating terrorists and destroying terror infrastructure.  Before entering the area, Israel Air Force jets, in coordination with Brigade 215, struck dozens of terror infrastructures above and below ground in the central strip.  The joint operation of ground forces and the air force was based on precise intelligence indicating the presence of terror infrastructures and numerous terrorists in the area.

Hopefully, as we close the week the new week will bring some positive news to all those waiting to see their loved ones once again.   May it be so.

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.