Middle East: what could come after Hamas?

Following Hamas's brutal terrorist attack, most press voices in Europe agree that as long as the radical Islamic group controls the Gaza Strip, peace between Israelis and Palestinians is impossible. However, defeating Hamas will be a difficult process and incur heavy civilian casualties. Commentators look at long-term scenarios.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

Hamas has won the propaganda war

The Irish Times explains why the radical Islamic terrorist organisation has benefited hugely from the escalation of the conflict:

“Whether one supports Israel's sovereign right to self-defence or Palestinians' right to self-determination, the ongoing frenzy of social media activity helps Hamas to cement their identity as the public representatives, and defenders, of Gaza: they become synonymous with Palestine, strengthen their status as regional players in the Middle East and force the 'Palestinian question' back on to the public agenda. Twelve days into the war, Hamas is being battered, but it is controlling the narrative.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Fight all terrorist organisations

The Islamists want to wipe Israel off the map, Berlingske stresses:

“Since [the failure of the Oslo peace process in the 1990s], with a few exceptions no new peace negotiations have really got off the ground. And nor will they as long as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iran and Hezbollah - to name just a few - commit acts of terror and won't be satisfied until Israel is destroyed. That is why it is more important than ever to support Israel's fight against terror. Because until terror is defeated, there will be no peace.”

Aamulehti (FI) /

Only two-state solution can bring peace

Israel must agree to the two-state solution, Aamulehti is convinced:

“Israel will have to negotiate with Hamas at some point. The question is who rules Gaza after the war. It will either be Hamas or a restored Palestinian authority in the region. Both would require a clear commitment from Israel that a two-state solution, that is, a sovereign state for the Palestinians as a neighbouring state to Israel, is possible within a certain time frame. Without this commitment, the cycle of violence in the Middle East will only subside for a short time. If Israel wants a more stable peace in the region, it will have to agree to a two-state solution.”

Webcafé (BG) /

Independent Palestine as a threat

The two-state solution is not an option for Israel, says Webcafé:

“Israel's great fear is that the West Bank will fall under the control of radicals like Hamas, as has happened in Gaza. At present it is more or less controlled by the Israeli army, but with the emergence of a sovereign Palestinian state this would no longer be the case. For a large part of the Israeli population, a two-state solution would not lead to peace but would only provide the Palestinian radicals with the opportunity to create another base for unhindered attacks.”

LRT (LT) /

Palestinians can only be free without it

The Palestinians should also pin their hopes on an Israeli victory against Hamas, LRT argues:

“If Gaza is freed from terrorist despotism, it could be handed over to a more moderate Palestinian administration. And if this administration stops the policy of promoting hatred against Israel, there would be a genuine opportunity to come to the negotiating table, which should lead to the recognition of a Palestinian state. ... Not just any state, but one that guarantees its citizens all their rights and freedoms. With the exception of the right to the destruction of Israel. Without this painful acceptance of reality the Palestinians will never be able to break free of the bloody cycle of hatred that is destroying them.”

Onet.pl (PL) /

The truth does not lie in the middle

The idea of proportionality is at best intellectually complacent, criticises Agnieszka Markiewicz of the American Jewish Committee in Onet.pl:

“We can no longer sit back and rant about a 'spiral of violence'. ... Such statements suggest that there are no responsible parties, that there is no right and wrong, that the truth lies 'somewhere in the middle'. Yet it should be clear to everyone today that Hamas, Hezbollah and their sponsors are bringing death, terror and suffering to millions of people. It should be absolutely clear that the war against Hamas is the war of all who oppose evil.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Accept victims for the greater good

If Hamas is to be destroyed, collateral damage is unavoidable, says Jutarnji list:

“Should the prospect of the imminent deaths of children, women and elderly people stop Israel from eliminating this terrorist group that won't stop killing Jews and foreigners in Israel and torturing its own population because it believes it has the religious right to do so? ... The attack on Hamas, with all its dreadful consequences for Gaza, can be justified if afterwards Palestinians and Israelis can define a sustainable model of coexistence from which terrorists are excluded - for the benefit of all who live in the region.”

Novinky.cz (CZ) /

Getting rid of the terrorists won't solve the problem

Novinky.cz discusses the difficulties Israel faces:

“Even if Hamas were eliminated, this would not solve the Palestinian question. In a tense atmosphere exacerbated by Palestinian casualties, Hamas would be replaced by another movement that would take over its role. ... It is asking a lot to expect Palestinians to decide rationally in a mood fomented by radical leaders and to give preference to more moderate representatives. ... It is no coincidence that the former head of Britain's MI6 intelligence service, Alex Younger, said: 'You cannot kill all terrorists without creating more terrorists'.”

Savon Sanomat (FI) /

Violations of international law not an option

Only the two-state solution offers any chance of peace, Savon Sanomat is convinced:

“It's unclear what Israel's goal in Gaza is. If Israel wants to bomb, capture and occupy the entire Gaza Strip, what will this mean for the Palestinians? The injustices suffered by Israel do not justify violations of international law. Even if Hamas is wiped out, the seeds of terrorism will continue to germinate for generations to come if justice is not done. Only the two-state model can provide this, even if this eternal endeavour is once again being obscured by the clamour of war.”