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Tag: Israel


Headlines we’ll read in 2013, for better or worse

Everyone likes predictions (why else do we read horoscopes?). Here are some from David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy. For the most part, he sees positive developments, particularly for the world economy. But he ends on a sad, pessimistic note.

Headlines we’ll be reading in 2013

By David Rothkopf

WASHINGTON — As that great geopolitical theorist Carly Simon once observed, “We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway, yay.” She then went on to say, as ketchup lovers everywhere remember, “Anticipation, anticipation, is making me late . . . is keepin’ me waitin’.”

Of course, the tortures of anticipation are well known to observers of the slow-motion train wreck that has been Washington’s management of America’s financial situation, or the recent, interminable U.S. presidential campaign, or the hideously slow path to oblivion followed by the Assad regime in Syria, or the painfully circular Eurofollies, not to mention the gradual but undeniable degradation of the planet’s environment that goes on year in and year out despite our clear knowledge about how to avoid the damage.

The time has come to say “enough.” We live in an age in which the average consumer expects instant gratification. There is no reason those who are interested in the bigger issues taking place in the world shouldn’t have it too. For that reason, we bring to you the top headlines that you will be looking back at when 2013 draws to a close 12 months from now. Think of it as the year in review, before it happens. Read more »


Count on Israel to sabotage its one path to peace

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Some Arabs hate Israel for merely existing. Many more chiefly hate its often roughshod treatment of Palestinians.

Nothing exemplifies the Israeli government’s arrogance more than its obsessive expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The only conceivable peace between Israelis and Arabs will require an independent Palestinian nation in those areas. Yet Israel’s ruling Likud Party seems bent on salting Palestinian territory with hostile Jewish enclaves, a practice that antagonizes the entire Muslim world and Israel’s chief ally, the United States.

Now, by the day, Israel’s neighborhood is quickly turning more dangerous.

A week and a half after the cease-fire in Gaza, Hamas is probably already restocking its missile arsenal. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is tightening its grip on Egypt. Turkey, once a reliable and powerful friend of Israel, has aligned itself with Hamas.

The Likud government, in its wisdom, has chosen this moment to expand the settlements. On Friday, it loudly approved construction of 3,000 new Jewish homes in Palestinian territory. It also announced a zoning process for approving settlements in a section of East Jerusalem critical to Palestinian statehood.

At times like this, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Likud officials look as pathologically foolish as their worst enemies.
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Iron Dome saved lives – Palestinians among them

The only pleasant news from the latest Israel-vs.-Hamas cage fight was the success of Israel’s new Iron Dome missile defense system.

Iron Dome doesn’t kill people, just missiles that kill people. And unlike many touted high-tech wonders, it actually appears to work. At $40,000 or $50,000 a copy, the interceptors are expensive, but the system sorts out which incoming rockets are likely to hit people and targets only those. The intercepters aren’t wasted on glorified bottle rockets.

It may have averted an Israeli invasion of Gaza. Had the jihadist rockets killed more than a handful of people, Israeli public

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Call Israel’s bluff, Hamas: Give up the rockets

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The only hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians is a two-state solution that guarantees both Jews and Arabs a secure homeland.

That’s a distant dream, though, without a no-rockets solution right now.

When fighting breaks out between Israel and the jihadist Hamas government of Gaza, the news is dominated by massive Israeli air strikes and dead Palestinian noncombatants. It looks like swatting a flea with a sledgehammer.

Mostly unreported, month in and month out, are the barrages of missiles that Hamas and related militias launch into Israel.

The latest outbreak of warfare between Israel and Gaza is dated to Israel’s Nov. 14 assassination of Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari. Jabari was the mastermind behind Hamas’ increasingly sophisticated arsenal, which now includes smuggled Iranian ballistic missiles capable of hitting Jerusalem.

When Jabari died, Hamas vowed revenge and launched rockets at Israel, hence the Israeli counterstrikes aimed at firing pads and other missile infrastructure in Gaza, among other targets.

According to The New York Times, though, Gaza jihadists had already fired – in 2012 alone – more than 700 rockets at Israel. Killing Jabari may have been a political blunder, but he was Gaza’s Rocketman – a legitimate military target.

Hamas is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization whose long-term goal is the complete destruction of Israel. Its leaders exalt death; they have celebrated Osama bin Laden and suicide bombings; its military has hidden weaponry in densely populated areas, betting that attacks will produce videos of mangled civilians.

Nevertheless, it has admirers who will jump to its defense every time the rockets are mentioned.

The standard line – before the Iranian missiles arrived – was that the rockets were crude and inaccurate. That’s like saying it’s OK to shoot at someone as long as you’re a bad shot.

No country but Israel is expected to sit passively as mortal enemies drop high explosives on its towns and territory.

The Hamas-enablers also argue that the rockets are a justified response to Israel’s sea blockade on Gaza. The blockade does cripple the Gaza economy – but it also slows down Hamas’ imports of heavy weapons.
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The wrong announcement from Hosni Mubarak

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

For a while there Thursday – amid spreading rumors that Hosni Mubarak was about to step down – it almost looked as if Egypt were headed for a soft landing.

It was the worst possible set-up for yet another declaration by the Egyptian president that, no, he still intended to take his own sweet time before leaving office.

The popular uprising against Mubarak’s authoritarian regime has always held the potential of turning into something truly nasty – for Egypt, the Middle East and the rest of the world. That potential escalated when a vast crowd of deliriously excited Egyptian got their hopes raised, then dashed abruptly, within a single day.

Even a strongman needs people skills, and the 82-year-old Mubarak seems to have run out of his. All the more reason Barack Obama must do whatever he can to politely, diplomatically and gratefully nudge this old American ally toward the door.

This could still end well in a couple of ways.

One good way would be a responsible military intervention that shifts power from Mubarak’s cronies to a new, democratic, secular government. Another would be his ouster by those very cronies, assuming they are realists enough to know that their day is over, too.

In the Middle East, though, the smart money generally favors the worst outcomes. Those are pretty obvious here.
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