As the eighth day of Operation Protective Edge dawns, Israel’s Hebrew-language newspapers welcome news of what may be an impending ceasefire.
Yedioth Ahronoth‘s cover story suggests that a cessation of hostilities is imminent. Its main headline, which reads “Indications of a ceasefire agreement,” is accompanied by a photo of an IDF soldier walking along the Gaza border, smiling as he holds up two fingers in the victory sign. The caption accompanying the photo reads “Going home?” — a stark change from the paper’s stance yesterday, when it printed headlines such as “The border of patience” and “Firing and waiting” referring to a threatened ground invasion of Gaza.
The paper reports that the security cabinet is likely to approve the Egyptian-backed ceasefire proposal, highlighting that it makes only one concession to Hamas — the opening of border crossings, most likely with Egypt.
Its veteran analysts start to sum up the eight-day operation, assuming that it is for all intents and purposes over.
The paper’s Alex Fishman attributes both Hamas’s inability to significantly compromise Israel’s security and the ceasefire itself to the Iron Dome missile defense system, while Yossi Yehoshua suggests both Hamas and Israel didn’t win the victories they had been pushing for — Hamas due to the twin failures of its botched naval operation and downed drone, and Israel due to its failure to strike Hamas’s senior leadership in Gaza and its long-range rockets.
Shimon Shiffer declares Hamas’s confrontation with Israel a success for the Islamist organization, saying it had managed to send millions of Israelis running for cover. “I wish Operation Protective Edge could be declared a success. Unfortunately, what happened here deserves a different definition: Operation Forlorn Hope.”
Yoaz Hendel, meanwhile, notes the paradox faced by IDF as it plays into the hands of Hamas, which is “exploiting Israeli morality,” since the more the Israelis avoid bombing civilian concentrations in Gaza the longer the operation will go on.
Israel Hayom also refers to the ceasefire as imminent, writing in its cover story that Operation Protective Edge was “expected to come to an end today.” Its main headline, which reads “Headed for a ceasefire” in large white letters on a black background, is accompanied by two photos: an action shot of a missile being fired out of an Iron Dome battery, described as “the star of the operation,” and an IDF tank on the Gaza border, its Israeli flag fluttering in the desert wind.
A headline about the two Bedouin sisters, aged 11 and 13, who were wounded by a rocket that fell near Beersheba also features prominently on the cover page, this time with an angry red background.
The free daily’s Dan Margalit and Yoav Limor both praise the operation as a success. Margalit opines that “the IDF has dealt Hamas a heavy, even critical blow,” while Limor expresses a more measured stance, writing that both Hamas and Israel succeeded in some respects but failed in others.
Over at Haaretz, the signs pointing toward an imminent ceasefire seem less clear-cut. In its lead headline, the paper is more cautious in its wording than the other Hebrew-language dailies, stating only that “the cabinet will discuss an Egyptian framework for an immediate ceasefire this morning.”
The paper’s cover story focuses on the two Bedouin girls who were injured by a rocket in Lakia. The photo accompanying it shows the site in the Bedouin town were the rocket fell on Monday afternoon, with the caption quoting the two sisters’ uncle as saying, “We have nowhere to hide here, everything is made of tin.”
The cover story also highlights the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip — 178 when the paper went to print — as well as the objections of right-wing ministers to the ceasefire proposal .
In an op-ed titled “A week into the operation, Israel navigates toward the way out,” the paper’s Amos Harel suggests that Israel’s top brass is wary of sending ground troops into the Strip. He adds that if the ceasefire agreement falls through, the government will most likely opt for a limited operation — both to counter “concrete threats” to Israel and to have “an accomplishment to present to the Israeli public.”
The paper’s other major cover story focuses on the death of East Jerusalem teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir and the evidence showing that his killing — allegedly by a 29-year-old and two minors — was premeditated.
The photo accompanying the article shows a right-wing demonstration in the capital, with a caption reading, “The activists wanted to ‘show the Arabs who’s boss.’”