Editorial | Caught between rockets and a hard place

As we went to press on July 16, Operation Protective Edge was still going strong. Israeli shelling continued to pound Hamas targets in Gaza, while Hamas persisted in sending missiles deep into Israeli territory. A cease-fire proposed by Egypt was rejected by Hamas.

Israel has proven again that it can protect its citizens while meting out severe punishment to its enemy. The conflict also has unmasked Hamas as isolated on the world stage and willing to sacrifice the lives of its own people to score PR points.

Bravo, Israel. Now it’s time to end it.

At the risk of playing armchair general, we believe there are no good outcomes possible from continuing this fight any further.

The Israel Defense Forces has dramatically degraded the Hamas war machine, but there is only so much an air war can do. With the bulk of Hamas’ terror infrastructure below ground, the only way to destroy it is by dropping bunker-busting bombs or sending in ground troops.

As of midweek, at least one high-ranking Israeli official was saying there was a “high probability” of a limited ground invasion. Several of Israel’s leaders, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, have pushed not just for invasion but the temporary reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, which Israel evacuated in 2005.

A ground invasion will cause massive loss of Palestinian life, as well as the lives of Israeli soldiers. We hope and pray this step will not be deemed necessary by Israel’s leaders. Hamas leaders have warned that Gaza would be the IDF’s graveyard, and we can be sure they will work to make that so.

As the fight drags on, more and more innocent civilians will die. On July 16, Israeli shelling killed four Palestinian children on a Gaza beach. No matter that these deaths were unintentional — that does not lessen the tragedy.

We wish it were possible for Israel to obliterate Hamas without civilian casualties. Alas, it is not. Given that fact, Israel and its allies must find a diplomatic resolution to this conflict as soon as possible, regardless of whether a limited ground invasion is launched.

It may mean that Hamas lives to fight another day, but that was a foregone conclusion all along.

If, however, a cease-fire deal is signed and Hamas brazenly continues to launch missiles at Israel, then all bets are off. Israel has shown it will not tolerate deadly rockets fired at its population, and it will continue defending the nation for as long as it must.