Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Mideast cease-fire desperately needed

The renewed violence Tuesday between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas hurled civilians on both long-suffering sides toward a deadly new crisis. Israel and the Palestinians need to halt the fighting and tamp down public emotions that are threatening to sweep up even younger generations into a new round of reprisal attacks. The Obama administration should work quickly to put a durable cease-fire in place. Only then can the region begin to address the fundamental grievances that stand in the way of security.

There was no sign Tuesday of a peaceful way forward. Though Israel unilaterally adhered to a cease-fire arranged by Egypt, the break in hostilities quickly ended after Hamas rejected the plan and fired dozens of additional rockets into Israeli territory. Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in a week of fighting, and Israel suffered its first death Tuesday on the border near Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had no choice but to resume hostilities after Hamas rejected the cease-fire. Hamas sees the fighting as a means to force Israel to loosen its grip on the beleaguered territory, and as an exercise in unity that could restore the group's popular standing among Palestinians.

But a war of attrition that leaves mounting civilian casualties is no way to cut a path toward peace. Israel has left open its willingness to abide by a cease-fire, but it also signaled Tuesday that it wanted a longer-term solution from the rockets in Gaza that might require hitting hard at Hamas' military capability. Hamas looks to be testing its international support and the appetite among its people for a tougher approach in dealing with Israel. The world community faces a formidable challenge in ending hostilities before they turn worse, and there is no clear way forward. But if it does not succeed or at least buy time, the result will be more suffering and a hardening of attitudes that make the prospects for peace more distant.

That this violence erupted after Palestinians kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian boy was abducted, beaten and burned to death in apparent retaliation shows how deeply the next generation of these neighboring societies are scarred by the ongoing violence.

A cease-fire is the first step in stopping the killing, the public clamor for retribution and the physical damage on both sides. A sustainable pact will require the Palestinians to renounce violence and Israel to relax its crippling restrictions on Gaza. But those talks cannot take place alongside escalating hostilities that threaten to become an all-out war.

The United States and its partners should work quickly before the impact on civilians and refugees makes the humanitarian crisis even worse — and harder to manage.

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Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18