Terror against Israel: how could this happen?

After the initial shock and mourning for the many victims of the brutal Hamas attack, people are starting to ask questions. How were the terrorists able to take Israel by surprise when its security forces were presumed to be so overwhelmingly superior? Commentators see Israel’s polarised political landscape as a major vulnerability.

Népszava (HU) /

Extremist government is a risk

The events must be seen in the context of developments in Israeli politics, Népszava argues:

“Analysts were already warning last December that Israel’s ultra right-wing government posed the risk of an escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And they were right: for months it has been clear that the Oslo Accords are defunct and that a third intifada was in the air. ... [Israel’s] political leadership is likely to continue its policy, which has so far led nowhere and is driving the Palestinians ever more towards Hamas.”

Mária Gál
La Repubblica (IT) /

Israel too focussed on itself

La Repubblica looks at why the attack occurred now:

“In recent years Israel has forgotten that it is in an exceptional situation, and its internal political weakness has quickly become a strategic vulnerability. Political majorities hang on a handful of votes from extremist parties (the parties of Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich); fundamental reforms such as the reform of the judiciary lack the support of the main political parties of the majority and the opposition. ... Political decisions (such as the transfer of 26 battalions from Gaza to the West Bank) were made with a view to achieving a quick consensus rather than implementing a strategic vision. ... This has weakened Israel’s deterrent potential.”

Gianni Vernetti
NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Citizens paying the price for lack of strategy

The people of Israel and Palestine are victims of failed policies, NRC complains:

“Citizens are paying the price for the lack of political will. And generally the Palestinians have had to pay the most. ... The difference between this and previous escalations is the use of terror against the Israeli population. ... After an outbreak of terror on this scale it’s understandable that Israel is retaliating with air strikes on Gaza. But this is a flawed strategy. ... Now that the fate of the Palestinian population is no longer an issue in Israel, Netanyahu’s government has no plan, no long-term vision for it. There are no prospects for the people in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Ignoring this question was a dreadful mistake.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Explosive despair

The Irish Times points to the desperate situation of the Palestinian population:

“The statistics are as shocking as they are familiar — just under 50 per cent of the total Palestinian population are in need of humanitarian assistance. In Gaza, which has been subjected to a blockade since 2007, that figure increases to 80 per cent. Unemployment is rife and there is no freedom of movement. Israel prohibits Palestinians from leaving or entering Gaza except in extremely rare cases. In July of this year, Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, likened the situation to an ‘open-air prison’.”

Vincent Durac