Sherwin Pomerantz

 The 212th Day of War in Israel   

A joint attack by the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Services) killed one of the top commanders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the IDF announced on Saturday. The terrorist, Imam Zerev, was killed by Israel Air Force fighter jets in southern Gaza. Zerev commanded and directed several attacks. Most notably, he directed the terror attack by Nukhba terrorists at both the border community and outpost of Sufa on October 7th, as well as led the PIJ’s preparations for combat against the IDF in the southern Gaza Strip. Two other terrorists from PIJ were killed in the same air strike. Earlier on Saturday, the IAF carried out additional strikes on targets in Gaza after launches had been fired towards Israeli territory from the Strip.

For months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has avoided detailed public discussion about Gaza’s postwar future. Trying to placate both his far-right allies, who seek to rebuild Israeli settlements in Gaza, and Israel’s foreign partners, who want Gaza returned to Palestinian governance, Mr. Netanyahu has stopped short of any specific declaration.

Behind the scenes, however, senior officials in his office have been weighing an expansive plan for postwar Gaza, in which Israel would offer to share oversight of the territory with an alliance of Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the United States, according to three Israeli officials and five people who have discussed the plan with members of the Israeli government.

According to that proposal, Israel would do so in exchange for normalized relations between itself and Saudi Arabia, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

Far-right members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition are almost certain to dismiss such an idea, and so are the Arab countries mentioned as possible participants. But it is the clearest sign yet that officials at the highest levels of Israel’s government are thinking about Gaza’s postwar future, despite saying little in public, and could be a starting point in future negotiations.

On the hostage front, Hamas has been sending positive signals in favor of a phased scaling down of the war which would lead to a permanent peace. While Israel seems interested in that it is also taking a hard line on no permanent peace with Hamas still in control. Israel has not sent its negotiators back to Cairo and will not do so until the framework of a mutually acceptable agreement works out. Meanwhile, pressure continues to grow on the Netanyahu government to “make the deal.”

Tonight begin the annual observance of Yom HaShoah, the remembrance of the six million Jews who died in the run up to and during World War II at the hands of the Nazis. A fitting way to observe the day would be to watch Sherry Sandberg’s new 45-minute searing film, Screams of Silence, which details eye witness testimony of the events of October 7th and which can be viewed here….

It is another never again moment, proving that the world even now, is not serious about assuring that never again means never again.  May the memories of those we lost, then and now, be blessed. Yechi Zichronam Baruch!

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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