Sherwin Pomerantz

The Hostages Are Running out of Time

Israel believes that more than a third of the remaining Gaza hostages are dead, a government tally stated on Tuesday, as the United States sought to advance their recovery under a proposal to wind down the war with Hamas. Of about 250 people dragged into the Gaza Strip by Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists during the Oct. 7 cross-border massacres that sparked the war, scores were freed in a November truce, while others have been recovered – dead or alive – by Israeli troops. The government tally said 120 remain in captivity, 43 of whom have been declared dead in absentia based on various sources of information, including intelligence tip-offs, CCTV or bystander videos and forensic analysis.

Hamas, which threatened at the outset of the war to execute hostages in reprisal for Israeli air strikes, has since alleged such attacks caused hostage deaths. Israel has not ruled that out in all cases, but said that some recovered hostage bodies showed signs of execution. On Monday, four more hostages were added to Israel’s list of fatalities.

US President Biden on Friday went public with an Israeli proposal to wind down the war, under which some hostages would go free during a preliminary ceasefire. But mediated efforts to clinch that deal have been bogged down as Israel insists on eventually resuming the campaign to destroy Hamas while the Palestinian terrorist group demands a guaranteed end to the war and withdrawal of all invasion forces.

Israel is fighting an existential public relations war for its right to self-defense, Israeli Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog told the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on Monday as he reflected on the last nine months of the Gaza war.

“While we fight the military war on the ground in Gaza, we fight another war which is critical as well, the war to defend our right to exist, our right to defend ourselves,” he said in a conversation with Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Zvika Klein. “It’s a war of perceptions and narratives. It’s a war against those who want to delegitimize the State of Israel. It is a critical war, and we need to think about this strategically, long term,” said Herzog, who has been Israel’s Ambassador to the US since the war began. “For us, this war is existential. It touches on existential nerves,” he said.

 Insanity in the international diplomatic world reign supreme. The non-existent  “State of Palestine” has filed an application to the International Court of Justice to intervene in the genocide case brought against Israel by South Africa. According to the application, signed by Palestinian Authority Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Ammar Hijazi, the P.A. is seeking to intervene under articles 62 and 63 of the ICJ statute. Israel’s conduct in the “genocidal war” against Hamas in Gaza “is an attack on the very foundations of the international legal order,” the application states.

It goes on to accuse Israel of “starving the Palestinian people in Gaza” and “depriving the population of life-saving medicine.” Nicaragua, Libya, Colombia and Mexico have also submitted applications of intervention. South Africa initially instituted proceedings on Dec. 29, 2023, requesting that the court issue provisional measures against Israel under the genocide convention, including ordering an immediate ceasefire.

So there you have the ultimate insanity. A non-existent state, Palestine, goes to the International Court of Justice to accuse a 76-year-old legitimate democratic member nation of the United Nations, of genocide against a political movement situated on a piece of land that is also not a nation but a terrorist entity officially bent on the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. You couldn’t make this up.

Israel may have no choice but to accept the proposal on the table forcing Hamas to do the same unless they find a way to weasel out of it and, only then, will we know the real details of the contents of the document. As I’ve said before, if we find it intolerable we can always walk away from it. But one does get the feeling that some of our “friends” are not being totally hones with us on this issue.

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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