Haaretz's Editorial may not come across too well among Likud voters, but for the general public drawing conclusions, this editorial brings out Netanyahu's responsible path to secure Israel and restore the deterrence, by also drawing a sharp contrast between Netanyahu's and Olmert's conduct handling the war on Terror in Gaza.
"Operation Pillar of Defense has ended, as it should have. While it could have been ended a few days earlier, those who ended it on Wednesday still deserve praise. It's impossible to avoid comparison both with Israel's last operation in Gaza, Cast Lead, and with its previous government, headed by Ehud Olmert. The (limited) achievements are the same, but the price that was paid - by both Israel and residents of Gaza - was incomparably lower.
It's possible that the same achievements could have been obtained through diplomatic activity, and it's regrettable that this option wasn't explored. But once it decided on a military operation, Benjamin Netanyahu's government demonstrated relative restraint.
This restraint demonstrated strength: The Israel Defense Forces killed and wounded many fewer innocent civilians this time around, and therefore, Israel's international standing also suffered far less damage....
The restraint Israel displayed, along with its wise decision to refrain from embarking on another bloody adventure on the ground in Gaza, has opened up diplomatic opportunities that must not be wasted. Israel's contacts with the new Egypt, its swift acquiescence to America's request that it halt the fighting, and even the indirect negotiations with Hamas will likely prove to have been constructive and effective developments as time passes..
Meanwhile, however, we should express our appreciation of this government and its leader for the relative restraint they displayed. Pillar of Defense produced no victors, but the day after offers new opportunities for common sense to prevail.