In the wake of the recent rocket fire from Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reviews the situation in Gaza a year and a half after Operation Protective Edge: "About 100,000 Gazans – more than half of them children – still have not had their houses rebuilt. The average person in Gaza makes $174 a month. Unemployment in the Strip during 2015 topped 40 percent, while more than 65% of the population live under the poverty line. The humanitarian crisis is regularly blamed on the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt. Neither Oxfam nor UNRWA place any blame for the perpetuation of the Gaza crisis on Hamas, the ruler there, which raises money from the international community on the backs of the Strip’s residents and invests tens of millions of dollars each month in building up its fighting force, digging attack tunnels that stretch into Israel and manufacturing rockets. Hamas members monopolize the smuggling of goods and arms into the Strip. Many have become rich while the vast majority of Gazans live in dire poverty. By channeling nearly all available resources into rebuilding its military capabilities, the terrorist organization keeps the humanitarian crisis alive."
Yediot Aharonot writes: "For over five months, the willingness of young Palestinians to carry out suicide missions has not subsided. Decision-makers are secretly hoping that this threat will fade away on its own. That the Palestinian street grows weary of applauding suicides; that parents intervene; that the youth will catch on to another trend that is less deadly. More than five months have passed, and there is no sign that this hope will indeed come true. There is no justification for terrorism, no moral or practical justification. But if we wish to deal with this wave of terror attacks, stop it or mitigate it, we can’t settle for oratory. It’s important to understand that there is no magic military solution that would return the knives into the kitchen drawers. We need to find ways to wear down the despair. Providing the Palestinians with a better livelihood is a good way. The government should take its head out of the sand, stop looking for someone to blame and start working. It is difficult, but not impossible."
Haaretz comments France’s new peace initiative: "After months of diplomatic dormancy, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced over the weekend that France plans to convene an international conference in the next few weeks to jump-start the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He added that if this initiative fails, France will officially recognize a Palestinian state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not deviate from his habit of viewing every diplomatic initiative as a threat to the State of Israel. Instead of finding ways to scuttle every effort that might lead to a solution, France should be congratulated on its initiative in the hope that other countries, especially the United States, join it. Recognition of a Palestinian state that will live in peace alongside the State of Israel is not a threat to Israel. It is a welcome contribution to its peace, security and morality."
Israel Hayom addresses the issue of Hezbollah and the Muslim rift: "The Arab League foreign ministers’ declaration this past weekend that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization is an important step in the war against that group being waged by the Gulf states over its involvement in the Syrian civil war, as they stated it. But the declaration was actually intended to check the terrorist group’s massive influence in the Middle East and the world at large. Hezbollah, backed by Iran, limits the Sunni Gulf states’ freedom of operation and increases Shiite influence in the Middle East."
Globes comments on the US presidential campaign: "There has been a good deal written recently claiming that Israel can no longer count on the support of the US and should prepare to go it alone or with new friends. The fact is that rhetoric aside, during the Obama years defense and intelligence cooperation has continued and in some cases actually strengthened between the two allies. The continuation of this cooperation is of great importance to Israel, and it should be emphasized that it has greatly benefited the US as well."
[Nahum Barnea, Dr. Ronen Yitzhak and Dr. Norman Bailey wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Israel Hayom, and Globes respectively.]