How to break the vicious circle in the Israel-Palestine conflict?

The Israel-Palestine conflict has taken on new levels of violence in recent days, and yet much of what is happening appears to follow a familiar pattern. The radical Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities, and Israel's army responds with counterattacks on Gaza, invoking the right to self-defence. Europe's press discusses ways out of the deadlock.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Just a last trump card away from a truce

Israel needs one last victory before it can agree to a ceasefire, La Repubblica comments:

“A photo, an event, a symbol to show the world that justifies a ceasefire. Yet Netanyahu has already achieved a seemingly small but for him very important goal, namely negotiations between a right-wing and a left-wing party to form a government, without excluding himself. 'All he needs is a final trump before he can accept a ceasefire,' said Yossi Yehoshua of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. At best the elimination a top Hamas leader. ... The assassination of one of the leaders would be a bloody revenge that could suffice for the Israeli government to call off its bombers.”

Marianne (FR) /

Israel needs new electoral laws

For a sustainable de-escalation Israel needs far-reaching reforms, explains geopolitics expert Jean-Loup Bonnamy in Marianne:

“The proportional representation system favours the apparatchiks of party politics, enhances patronage attitudes, for example in favour of settlers, makes majorities unstable, and pushes Likud to ally with small far-right parties, thus tightening its policies. ... As long as Israel does not regain charismatic and credible leaders committed to peace, as long as it does not reform its electoral system, as long as it does not freeze the construction of new settlements, and as long as it does not crack down on its own extremist groups, we will see more bloodbaths.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Self-defence can mean many things

Netanyahu's policy does not do justice to the different opinions within Israel, Avvenire warns:

“Many repeat like a mantra that 'Israel has the right to defend itself'. Although the statement seems obvious, it fails to clarify just what that defence entails. All one need do is read the more liberal Israeli newspapers or listen to many intellectuals there to understand that the bombing of the civilian population in Gaza is not perceived as 'defence'. If Prime Minister Netanyahu pursues a political course based only on antagonism, the demonisation of Arabs and creeping colonisation of the most strategic Palestinian territories, many Israelis will refuse to follow him.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Waiting strategy no longer feasible

Netanyahu's stalling tactics are backfiring, writes Adevărul:

“The strategy so far has been to manage the conflict with the Palestinians rather than take action to resolve it. Netanyahu does not want a final, abrupt solution; he knows that time will work in Israel's favour - with the expansion of settlements and the purchase of real estate in East Jerusalem. His strategy is to create the necessary climate for the Palestinians to get used to the new state of affairs. The current conflict is complicating Netanyahu's plans; it is by no means an opportunity to preserve his power, because at some point a negotiated solution between the two sides will be necessary.” (UA) /

Palestinians hostage to Hamas terror

Israel must crack down hard on Hamas, Russian opposition figure Victor Shenderovich writes in

“The Palestinians are truly to be pitied, for they are being held hostage by murderers. Any Palestinian who is seen to sympathise with the Jews is killed. A Palestinian child in Gaza has little chance of becoming anything other than cannon fodder, and that is of course a terrible tragedy. But Israel can only help the Palestinians in the current situation by destroying the leaders of Hamas - the Palestinian people must do the rest themselves. Of course, only if they want a future for themselves and their children, rather than mutual destruction.”

El País (ES) /

Three irreconcilable elements

Israel is now in a trilemma, writes political scientist Haizam Amirah Fernández from the Spanish think tank Real Instituto Elcano in El País:

“Israel cannot be a Jewish state, be democratic, and maintain control over the territories and populations it currently dominates at the same time. ... If Israel wants to be a Jewish state and at the same time democratic, it will have to end its occupation. If it wants to be democratic and control all the territories, it will have to go from being a Jewish state to being binational and egalitarian. And if it wants to continue being Jewish and dominate the territories of the West Bank and Gaza, it will automatically cease to be a democratic state.”

Libération (FR) /

Same procedure as always

Etgar Keret writes in Libération that he's seen it all before:

“Even if none of us is really ready to understand how this nightmare began, we [the Israelis] all know in our hearts how it will end: ... We will bomb more buildings in Gaza to make our enemies pay an even heavier price, regardless of the many 'collateral' victims. ... The death of these Palestinian citizens and children will shock the world, and we will accuse the world of being hypocritical and judging us by a double standard. The International Court of Justice in The Hague will declare that it is opening an investigation, and we will declare that the investigation is anti-Semitic, and in the end, when the ritual is completed, we will start all over again.”