Friday, December 15, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Mideast cease-fire an opening for talks

A cease-fire held for the second day Wednesday, giving Israel and Hamas their best chance yet for ending the ruinous war in Gaza. While durable peace is far from assured, the temporary truce opens a window for addressing the immediate concerns of both sides, from rebuilding Gaza to ensuring Israel's need for border security. The United States and other moderate players in the international community, who were sidelined in the fighting, should step up now to help negotiate a solution to ending the violence that has killed too many innocents.

The cease-fire halting the monthlong war gave way to the opening round of talks in Cairo on a longer-lasting border deal. Hamas still does not fully accept Egypt as a fair mediator in the aftermath of the military ouster of Egypt's Islamist president. But the Palestinian militant group at least recognized it needed a bigger player than Qatar or Turkey to convert any battlefield gains into leverage with the west. And Israel accepted that its days of punishing Hamas militarily are numbered and wants to stem international pressure over the disproportionate pain being inflicted on Gaza's civilians. For now, at least, practicality has trumped the worst impulses on both sides. It's not much. But a cessation of hostilities provides breathing room for immediate humanitarian aid and a more stable security arrangement.

Any path forward must include substantive guarantees for both sides. For Hamas, that means a timetable for easing the crippling border restrictions that have left Gaza economically starved and politically isolated. Israel needs reassurance that its border areas are safe from the threat of Hamas missile strikes and ambush attacks through cross-border tunnels. Norway announced that it would organize a donors' conference as soon as September, which could be a vehicle for reconstructing schools, power and water plants and other day-to-day essentials in Gaza. The more moderate Palestinian Authority could play a helpful part by extending its reach beyond the West Bank, forming a unity government with Hamas.

These ideas do not fall together as cleanly in practice as they do on paper. Hamas is emboldened by the fighting with Israel and its military wing remains in place. The toll of death and despair from the war will increase international attention on Israel. The Palestinian Authority has yet to prove its domestic popularity or administrative competence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu irritated the United States with his government's harsh criticism of the Obama administration's efforts to broker a cease-fire. And Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the United States and Israel, is struggling to find a role, a strategy and a benefactor.

Still, the cease-fire presents a major opportunity for both sides to step away from the fight and to find a security arrangement that provides a building block for the future. The Obama administration was right to press for a halt to the war early on, and it should redouble its efforts at a political solution that gives Israel security and the Palestinians a chance. That dream may seem far away, but the last month shows that all-out war is not the answer.

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Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Florida’s juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was defensive and obtuse. So it’s welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17