Saturday, December 16, 2017
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: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

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Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

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Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

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Here’s a snapshot of misplaced priorities in Washington. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission foolishly rushed to scrap net neutrality rules and allow internet service providers to treat different content differently despite overwhelming ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

With misconduct allegations rippling through all levels of government, Gov. Rick Scott has taken the prudent step of ordering uniform sexual harassment policies throughout state agencies. The executive order strengthens protections for victims, which...
Updated: 10 hours ago
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 ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
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

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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