Israel at war

In the early hours of Saturday the radical Islamic Hamas organisation fired thousands of rockets at Israel and armed Palestinian militants broke through the barriers surrounding the Gaza Strip and entered Israel, shooting and killing hundreds of Israelis in several communities on the border and abducting more than 100 people. According to Israeli sources, Hamas continues to fire missiles, while Israel is now bombing targets in Gaza. Europe's press discusses what should be done and looks at who benefits from the escalation.

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Anna Gin (UA) /

From air-raid alarm to air-raid alarm

On her Facebook page, Anna Gin, a journalist from Kharkiv, describes a phone call with her daughter in Tel Aviv:

“The world has gone mad - that's the moment when, in the twenty-first century, you finally get your daughter on the phone and the sirens are wailing on both sides of the line. Your sirens in Kharkiv and her sirens in Tel Aviv. ... The air-raid sirens at both ends of the line sound exactly the same. Proclaiming impending death, violence and grief. When I was a child, I always wished for two things for my birthday: a dog, and that good would triumph over evil. I already have a dog.”

Novaya Gazeta Europe (RU) /

Terror meant to provoke invasion of Gaza

Novaya Gazeta Europe explains Hamas' strategy as follows:

“Hamas' goal is not to capture a piece of Israel; that's impossible. Its goal is to create a bloodbath, generate as much anger as possible, take as many civilians hostage as possible and then sit there with them as a shield and say that Hamas was attacked. ... Similarly, bin Laden's goal was not to capture New York or the Twin Towers. His goal was to trigger a retaliatory strike and then mobilise the entire Islamic world, telling them that these cursed Yankees attacked peaceful Islam out of the blue. ... Hamas faces a concrete task: to get Israel to invade the Gaza Strip.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Netanyahu has no vision for long-term solution

Israel's Palestine strategy has failed, the Financial Times writes:

“In the current climate of grief and fury inside Israel, it is inevitable that the government will embrace a ferocious military response. But the Israeli government does not yet have any vision that goes beyond killing Hamas leaders. Over the long term, it is hard to believe that Israel can any longer accept Hamas's control of Gaza. ... The shock and fury in Israel are reminiscent of the emotions in the US after 9/11. That provoked a display of American unity and power. It also led to a decade-long 'war on terror' - which many Americans now regard as misconceived and self-destructive. Israel may be heading down the same dangerous path.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Catastrophic failure of the intelligence services

The attack is likely to have political consequences in Israel, says the Kleine Zeitung:

“Prime Minister Netanyahu may loudly vow revenge. But the fact that the Israeli military intelligence and the army - which otherwise monitor the smallest movements in the Palestinian territories - did not notice what was brewing represents such a catastrophic failure on the part of the services and loss of control that this will not remain without consequences for the government.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Moscow paid court to Hamas

Russia benefits from the attack, notes Večernji list:

“Vladimir Putin celebrated his 71st birthday on Saturday. Hamas offered him deafening congratulations with its brutal surprise attack on Israel. You think the two things have nothing to do with each other? Rubbish. Who benefits most from a new, open war in the Middle East? Russia. You think Hamas doesn't have a direct connection to Moscow? Just do a little search on the Internet and you'll quickly find information and photos showing how top leaders of Hamas were received by high-ranking officials in Moscow last November and in March of this year. ... Proof enough that they're in direct contact.”

hvg (HU) /

A headache for Kyiv

Hvg observes a division of global public opinion similar to that regarding the war in Ukraine:

“Ukraine is probably worried not only because some of the US ammunition deliveries are not forthcoming, but also because the conflict in Gaza, like the war in Ukraine, is dividing international public opinion. ... The Palestinian organisations continue to receive strong support from Moscow - as they did in Soviet times - and leading Russian politicians, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have met several times with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for talks.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

Iran plunging the region into chaos

Convinced of Tehran's involvement, Hürriyet warns:

“This Iranian-backed attack could mean that Tehran will launch new attacks in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria, as revenge for the death of the commander of the Al-Quds forces, Qasem Soleimani, whom the US killed by drone in 2020. US troops are therefore on high alert in Iraq and Syria. ... Iran has entered a period of confrontation with the United States and Israel in the region. ... Could this result in a counter-offensive against Iran? Such a situation would end in chaos.”

Politiken (DK) /

Reaction must not be disproportionate

The West must now support Israel, but also act to restrain it, says Politiken:

“It goes without saying that Israel must defend itself against the surprise attack by Hamas on Saturday morning. That is legal and reasonable and completely understandable. But based on the Gaza wars so far, there is a great danger that Israel will go too far with its military response. Israel is incomparably stronger than Hamas militarily, and previous wars have caused many hundreds of civilian casualties in Gaza. ... The international community, including Denmark and the EU, must therefore not only support Israel's right to self-defence but insist that Israel does not use disproportionate force.”