All five papers discuss various issues regarding the escalation in the south:
Yediot Aharonot warns that "The current round of fighting in the south and the relative success of Iron Dome are liable to create a dangerous illusion to the effect that this system can resolve the complex problem that Israel is destined to deal with in the near future." The author, a former IDF Gaza Division commander, notes the new situation that has been created in Sinai after the fall of the Mubarak regime and believes that "The Government must internalize the fact that there is a new situation in the south. The export of terrorism to Sinai requires a much more effective defensive alignment so that it would be possible to foil attempted terrorist attacks not just by striking at the organizations’ leaders (successors always pop up immediately)." The paper cautions that "Without a well-conceived attack initiative, Israel is liable to dragged – within a short time – into additional escalations."
Ma’ariv asserts that "The conflict in the south guarantees that the defense budget will not only not be cut, but will be increased." The author says that "Social protest is old news," and adds, "Iron Dome must be paid for."
Yisrael Hayom suggests that "Decision-makers in Cairo, Gaza and Jerusalem held to one understanding last night: If an arrangement is not found to quickly restore calm, matters are liable to get out of control and lead to an escalation that none of the sides really wants." The author notes that a combination of Iron Dome and effective intelligence has – so far – neutralized Islamic Jihad’s "desire to see bodies," but speculates that "Even on the assumption that calm is restored, it is doubtful whether the area will be quiet for even 40 days." The paper adds that "Israel will not accede to Hamas’s avowed request to stop foiling attacks and striking at terrorists, something that ensures that every round will be more violent than its predecessors," with Gaza-based missiles hitting ever further north.
The Jerusalem Post declares that “Despite the prohibitive costs, Iron Dome is worth the expense,” and adds: “Turning a weakness into a strength is an old Jewish trait. In this context, Iron Dome is an eminently Jewish response to Palestinian aggression.”
Haaretz commends the successful deployment of the Iron Dome system, but wonders whether it was really necessary, after a long period of calm, “to embroil Israel in a war that paralyzes the lives of a million civilians?” The editor adds that “The people living in the south have understood, as they are always forced ‘to understand,’ the implications of the war against terror in Gaza. Now it is the decision makers’ turn to understand that Iron Dome is not a substitute for policy making or, better yet, freedom from making policies.”
[Shmuel Zakai, Yehuda Sharoni and Yoav Limor wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]