Israel-Palestine: escalation imminent?

Nine Palestinians killed in a police raid in Jenin; seven Israelis killed after shots were fired outside a synagogue; dozens of people injured on both sides: this is the tragic tally of a recent eruption of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel's new government has passed new anti-terror laws in reaction to the incidents and plans to facilitate access to arms for Israeli civilians. Commentators are concerned.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

Israel's reaction heightens tensions

In response to the attacks, the new Israeli government is pouring fuel on the fire, notes The Irish Times:

“It has pledged to strengthen security guarantees to the illegal settlements, to expedite gun licences for Israeli citizens, to reinforce military and police units to carry out more arrests of Palestinians, and to conduct more operations aimed at seizing Palestinians' weapons. The moves, critics and human rights group warn, are likely to further exacerbate tensions. ... A long-planned visit today by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday should be an opportunity to make clear international concerns. But his arrival at this time of heightened volatility does not bode well.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Acid test for Netanyahu

Now we'll see who calls the shots in the new government constellation, writes Der Tagesspiegel:

“Netanyahu, who has reacted to such situations with caution in the past. Or the extremist forces who want to give free rein to their hatred of Arabs. For Netanyahu, this is even a chance to score points with his critics in his own country and those outside Israel. And he could do so by exercising moderation in the 'punitive measures', if that is at all possible in the heated situation. This would distinguish him from the Hamas Islamists, who use the alleged interests of the Palestinians as a pretext for their constant incitement to violence even though the terrorists care little for the well-being of their own people.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Reviving memories of the Second Intifada

Recent developments in Israel and the Palestinian territories could mark the beginning of a new intifada, Jutarnji list fears:

“This question comes up every time the situation heats up, and this time the scenes from Jenin have contributed. Israeli security forces raided the town on Thursday and engaged in fighting with Palestinians for hours, just as they did in 2002 when the town was the focal point of the Second Intifada. After the Second Intifada, which lasted until 2005 and was marked by suicide bombings and battles with militant groups in the Palestinian territories, Israel built walls around the West Bank.”