Middle East: ceasefire, but what comes next?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Tuesday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian representatives. The US government wants to help the reconstruction effort in Gaza, at the same time making sure that the funds for this purpose bypass Hamas. The ceasefire negotiated between Israel and Hamas is holding for the time being, but commentators doubt that a lasting solution can be found.

Open/close all quotes
Revista 22 (RO) /

No one wants to tackle the root problem

There is no real solution, Revista 22 believes:

“The conflict has also revealed the lack of international interest in the Israeli-Palestinian question. If we look at the map, we see that a two-state solution is no longer possible. This is also the reason why the major powers, first and foremost the US, are only concentrating on stopping the hostilities without the will to address the root problem. Biden is still well aware of the obstacles once encountered by Barack Obama and, with probably only one term in office ahead of him, he doesn't want to embark on a fruitless process.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Everyone trying to get into the Gaza Strip

Egypt has contributed significantly to the ceasefire, especially since Cairo has close relations with both Israel and Hamas. Now Egyptian President al-Sisi is also sending aid convoys to the Gaza Strip. But his motives are hardly altruistic, La Repubblica suspects:

“Everyone is trying to get a foothold in the Gaza Strip. Everyone wants to play a role there. ... The Egyptians are the latest to rush in: they have sent 500 trucks with aid supplies and are distributing packages containing noodles and rice. The caravan of cars and trucks bears the Egyptian flag and a photo of al-Sisi, the great mediator. Only the residents themselves are showing little enthusiasm. The Gaza Strip's citizens don't even want to stay there any more. They want to leave. Those who have finally understood what kind of trap they have fallen into want to flee Gaza, flee Hamas, flee Israel and flee the war.”

Diena (LV) /

Compromise remains wishful thinking

The problems in the Middle East are basically unsolvable, Diena puts in:

“Of course it sounds good to say that it is just a matter of finding the right compromises and then friendly coexistence between the two countries and peoples will be possible. But this assertion is only true on paper, and as long as the many causes of the problem are not examined in detail. In real life, this is an unrealizable utopia posing insurmountable obstacles: the Israeli state must guarantee the security of its citizens and protect them not only from the radical Islamist and openly terrorist movement Hamas, but also from a number of Muslim states that question Israel's right to exist.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Without prospects for Gaza violence will resume

The Frankfurter Rundschau sees many indications that with the ceasefire everything will simply go back to the way it was before:

“Without any perspectives for the 2.2 million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza, where there is an army of unemployed people, but not even enough clean drinking water. So sooner or later a new outbreak of the violence is inevitable. Hamas' clout may be enormously weakened, but its reservoir of unemployed young men who often let themselves be recruited for a fee is not. ... We know from previous Gaza wars that nothing fundamentally improves once they come to an end. ... But Hamas and Netanyahu don't have a problem with that.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Softening of stance on red-line issues unthinkable

La Repubblica has little hope that the talks will have a positive outcome:

“The crucial points of the agreement would concern Jerusalem, which is a 'red line' for both sides. Hamas wants to raise the issue of Sheikh Jarrah - the eastern neighbourhood where the houses over which the current crisis ignited are located. It also wants to raise the status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most important holy site in Islam. And it wants Israel to participate financially in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, the cost of which has been estimated at about 320 million dollars. But Israel has no intention of changing the parameters along which it has dealt with Hamas so far, or of extending them beyond the Gaza Strip.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Israel has no long-term peace strategy

Der Standard explains why Israeli policy stands in the way of a peace plan with the Palestinians:

“The country is divided. A large majority simply wants to live in safety, and for that they'd be willing to give up a large part of the occupied territories. But for an influential minority, peace is less important than control of the West Bank, biblical Judea and Samaria. This minority doesn't want a negotiation process that could lead to a Palestiniana state. ... Occupy the West Bank, isolate Gaza and fight Hamas every few years: that is the only consensus in Israeli policy. In the recent election campaign, the conflict with the Palestinians wasn't even an issue. There is no sign of a strong pro-peace camp that would be willing to fight for a solution.”