Israeli air strikes have destroyed Hamas targets in Gaza.
Commentators in the West Bank-based Palestinian press are united in dismay at the Israeli operation in Gaza, condemning it as an "ugly massacre".
Some also voice their fury at what they see as the inaction of the region's Arab states and the West's support for Israel, while one commentator fears the operation will only drive more of Gaza's young men into the arms of radical Islamists.
In Israel, press commentators are broadly supportive of the army operation, and insist that it is up to Hamas to stop the violence, by ending firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel. One writer, however, disagrees, saying that every war is a "crime against humanity".
EDITORIAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS
As the Arab and international silence continues, the credibility of Europe, the United States and the Arab regimes is collapsing. It is becoming very clear that the Palestinians are required to be a broken people... However, they forget that the many massacres to which our people in the Gaza Strip have been exposed will only increase their steadfastness.
BASIM ABU-SAMMIYA IN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH
The Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip is an ugly massacre. However, the public protests by the Arab countries are not enough on their own. We have become used to being massacred and to dying under the rubble while hearing statements of condemnation and the commotion of demonstrations. However, after a day or two they disappear only to leave the sounds of shells and missiles.
KHALID AL-HARRUB IN AL-AYYAM
What is happening now is the ideal situation for the recruitment of the angry young men who feel collectively insulted. The picture that the Islamists on the streets are painting is that Israel, supported by the West, is waging a war of extermination against the Palestinian people as powerless Arab regimes watch idly.
SAMIH SHBEIB IN AL-AYYAM
The main objective of the Israeli operation is not to destroy Hamas's rule [in Gaza], because this would entail a land invasion and lengthy occupation of the Gaza Strip. What it wants is to deal Hamas and the resistance a painful and effective blow in the Gaza Strip, in order to weaken the resistance and force it to accept a truce according to Israel's conditions.
EITAN HABER IN YEDIOT AHARONOT
This is a strange, unique war. It has no defined borders. There is no occupation and no victory. It could end in an hour or in a year. The way in which it develops will be dictated to a large extent by the Palestinians: They stop firing, we will also stop firing. They'll continue? Their end will be bitter.
BEN KASPIT IN CENTRE-RIGHT MA'ARIV
The ground operations are due at some point. At some point it will be possible to take control of territory in Gaza and effect great damage. Hamas can halt the whole affair at any given moment if it agrees to renew the truce on acceptable terms. Meanwhile, Hamas is conveying stubbornness.
JONATHAN GEFFEN IN CENTRE-RIGHT MA'ARIV
Just like in the first days of the Second Lebanon War, we are again in euphoria. The media, like then, is full of prattle about the morality of the war. Have we not learned that every war, no matter how justified, is a crime against humanity? Most of the public is united around the only consensus we have ever had: war and bereavement, Holocaust and disasters.
EDITORIAL IN LEFT-OF-CENTRE HA'ARETZ
Re-establishing the ceasefire on better terms and with better supervision is a reasonable goal. Toppling the Hamas regime, or eradicating the last rocket factory where the last Hamas member is making the last Qassam rocket, are not reasonable goals, in part because they are unachievable without a prolonged presence on the ground in Gaza.
ALEX FISHMAN IN CENTRIST YEDIOT AHARONOT
In order to stop the firing [of rockets] there is a need to reach a settlement, and in order to convince Hamas to reach a settlement we are now breaking its bones - in part to ensure that the price it demands is not high. However, we have not yet decided what price we are ready to pay. It is worth our while to decide quickly so that others may not decide for us.
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