Yediot Aharonot says that „It is no coincidence that in recent years, Syria and the terrorist organizations have equipped themselves with thousands of missiles and rockets.
From the Gulf War through the Second Lebanon War and all the difficult points in between, they have learned – over the border – an important lesson from their point-of-view: They have no chance on the confrontation lines. There, the IDF will clobber them. Mainly, they have no chance of overcoming the IAF. Therefore, what to do? They are trying to leap over the IDF on the confrontation lines and over the IAF’s superiority, and reach what they perceive to be the weak link in the chain – the Israeli home front, the civilians, mainly in the Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Today, almost 20 years later, there is no argument over the fact that the conduct of the civilian population during the 1991 Gulf War is what convinced those around us that the weak link in the Israeli security chain is the home front population. Even though nobody denies the natural desire to flee areas of danger and not wait for a SCUD to fall on your head, the flight of almost 500,000 people from Tel Aviv to the periphery every night caused a change of awareness among policy-makers in Arab countries and in the terrorist organizations.” The author believes that the most important thing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak can provide at the present, given the various threats that Israel faces from Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Hamas, „is not budgets, money or organizations,” but sweeping, credible leadership that speaks the truth and, mainly, creates hope.”
Yisrael Hayom comments on the Palestinian Authority initiatives to internationalize the conflict with Israel by having other countries recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines and by submitting a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to the effect that all settlements beyond these lines are illegal. The author notes that the effect of these would be to obviate the possibility of any agreement that leaves the major settlement blocs and the Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. The paper says that Prime Minister Netanyahu must choose between one of two possibilities – A more hard-line approach, which holds that since the Palestinians do not really want to reach a final agreement with Israel, as was seen in Abu Mazen’s 2009 contacts with Ehud Olmert, Israel would be wasting its time by offering compromise proposals and taking unilateral measures, or a more moderate approach which holds that Israel must offer detailed peace proposals, if only to mollify the Americans and allow them to foil the Palestinian initiative to internationalize the conflict. The author avers that „In my view, the second outline is essential,” and suggests that „Between Christmas and New Year’s, feverish activity is taking place under the surface.”
Ma’ariv faults the way the current and previous prime ministers have dealt with the issue of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit: „Both Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu have ignored the basic values of the State of Israel. They abandoned an IDF soldier, abandoned his family and created a new system of ‘values’ in which the State of Israel does not do its utmost in order to being its soldiers back home.”
The Jerusalem Post discusses the record-breaking number of Christian tourists and pilgrims visiting Israel this Christmas, and notes the contrast between their welcome presence here to their dismal situation in other regions of the Middle East. The editor notes that „As much as most any other group in the Middle East, Christians serve as a barometer of tolerance and freedom,” and adds that „Their plight underlines this region’s tensions, hostilities and intolerances.” The editor is hopeful that „through their continued presence in the Middle East and their prayers, Christians will indeed help bring peace to this part of world,” and concludes: „All of God’s family would benefit from it.”
Haaretz criticizes the Netanyahu government, which views illegal migration from Sudan and Eritrea as a serious danger that „threatens every citizen, threatens employment of Israelis, and threatens the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel,” and states that this line of thinking serves only to „encourage the thugs of the Kahanist right wing and the racist municipal rabbis to declare war on foreigners.” The editor feels that „The migrants from Sudan and Eritrea present Israel with a humanitarian problem but do not endanger its existence or future. Depicting them as enemies of the state, especially by the prime minister, is fuel for the fires of racism and xenophobia.”