Sherwin Pomerantz

The 201st Day of War in Israel

Israel’s operation into the southern Gaza enclave of Rafah seems to be about to begin. Satellite images show large tent camps having been erected towards the middle of the strip for the purpose of housing civilians who will be evacuated to there in order to avoid being caught in Rafah when the onslaught begins. No time announced for this but it appears to be imminent.

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah said on Tuesday it had launched a drone attack against Israeli military bases north of the city of Acre, in its deepest strike into Israeli territory since the Gaza war began. The IDF said it had no knowledge of any of its facilities being hit by Hezbollah, but had said earlier on Tuesday that it intercepted two “aerial targets” off Israel’s northern coast. Hezbollah said it acted in retaliation for an earlier Israeli attack killing one of its terrorists. The group published what appeared to be a satellite photo, with the location of the strike symbolized by a flash with a red circle around it that sat halfway between Acre and Nahariyya to the north.

The US Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday night to give final approval to a $95.3 billion package of aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, sending it to President Biden and ending months of uncertainty about whether the United States would continue to back Kyiv in its fight against Russian aggression. The vote capped an extraordinary political saga that raised questions about whether the US would continue to play a leading role in upholding the international order and projecting its values globally.

“Our allies around the world have been watching Congress for the last six months and wondering the same thing: When it matters most, will America summon the strength to come together, overcome the centrifugal pull of partisanship and meet the magnitude of the moment?” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said on Tuesday. “Tonight, under the watchful eye of history, the Senate answers this question with a thunderous and resounding ‘yes.’”

In a statement minutes after the vote, President Biden said he would sign the bill into law “and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.”

The spokesperson for Hamas’ armed al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, called on Tuesday for an escalation across all fronts in a televised speech marking 200 days since the start of the Israel-Hamas was in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7.

Israel says it is seeking to eradicate Hamas, which controls the enclave.

In a video aired by Al Jazeera TV, Abu Ubaida praised Iran’s attack on Israel on April 13, saying the direct strikes with explosive drones and missiles “set new rules, drew important equations, and confused the enemy and those behind it.” He also called for an escalation in the West Bank and Jordan calling it “one of the most important Arab fronts.” Jordan, which lies between Iran and Israel, intercepted and shot down dozens of Iranian drones that entered its airspace and were heading to Israel, two regional security sources said on April 13.

Sadly it does not at all look as if the war is winding down nor that Israel has a plan to call a halt and claim victory. The lack of such a plan coupled with the continuing increase in anti-Israel demonstrations now on college campuses across the US, does not bode well for Israel’s image in the world. Hopefully the government here will realize sooner rather than later that the public relations war is as important as how we progress in the fight against Hamas in Gaza. Sadly, once again, time does not appear to be on our side.

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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