Three papers discuss the escalation in the south following the recent elimination of PRC commander Zahir Kaisi:
Yediot Aharonot believes that "This was a planned escalation." The author notes that the Iron Dome system successfully intercepted nearly all the missiles that were launched at populated areas," and adds that "Were it not for Iron Dome, the IDF would be deep inside Gaza, with dozens of casualties on both sides." The paper says that the decision to eliminate Kaisi was taken in light of the fact that a decision not to eliminate a similar PRC cell resulted in the August 2011 terrorist attack that left eight Israelis dead. The author says that Israel has now thrown Hamas on the horns of a dilemma: "As Hamas seeks to portray itself as a pragmatic political body vis-à-vis the world, does it have the power and the will to rein in the firing by Islamic Jihad that is threatening its hegemony in the Gaza Strip?" The paper cautions that "If the firing continues past a pre-determined point, the green light will be given for a ground operation."
Ma’ariv asserts that "Israel decided to take the initiative" in response to a major terrorist attack that was being planned by the PRC, and praises the IDF for the accuracy of both the Iron Dome system and its strikes on the Gaza Strip, as well as for the precision of Kaisi’s elimination. The author criticizes the decision not to completely smash Hamas and its cohorts during Operation Cast Lead and adds that "We are currently eating its rotten fruit and will continue to do so until we understand that nobody will clean out Gaza for us, that rockets do not rust, but are launched, and that terrorism – unfortunately – understands only one language."
Yisrael Hayom says that Gaza-based terrorists responded as expected to Kaisi’s elimination, and adds that Israel has clearly had the upper hand in the fighting thus far, thanks to thorough preparations and the Iron Dome system. The author believes that Israeli decision-makers must decide how far to push the current round given that heavily populated areas beyond Ashdod could come under fire.
The Jerusalem Post claims the labor unions are the cause of recent disruption of the already poor service of Israel Railways, and cites “The slapdash upkeep and the lack of professionalism” as a sure sign of the nepotism that is the heart of the unions’ rule. The editor states: “Massive outlays of taxpayer cash have been lavished on Israel Railways. It’s time the company employees understand that this isn’t their money but ours.”
Haaretz believes that the Israel-Palestinian conflict lies at the root of the instability in the region, and for that reason peace is needed now more than ever. The editor feels that the conflict “affects the Americans’ ability to promote regional cooperation against the threats the moderate Arab states have in common with Israel,” and adds that “Postponing the settlement of Israel-Palestine conflict is bad for Israel. The belief that the leaders of the region and the world have given up and set the issue aside is a dangerous illusion.”
[Alex Fishman, Ben Caspit and Yoav Limor wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]