War in the Middle East: does peace stand a chance?

Israel has rejected calls by the UN and the EUfor an immediate ceasefire and is stepping up its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. "Israel did not start this war. ... Calls for a ceasefire are a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. Europe’s media look to the future and ask what options there are for bringing peace to the region.

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Israel must restore deterrence

The Daily Telegraph finds the calls for a ceasefire absurd:

“Not only would it give Hamas time to regroup its forces and prepare further missile attacks on Israelis, but many of those demanding that Israel lays down its arms are being dishonest. Is there any military response to Hamas’s atrocities that Israel’s critics would allow the country to take? Do they really believe that there is any chance of a political settlement between Israel and a group that wants to wipe the country from the face of the earth? ... [Israel] urgently needs to restore deterrence through a decisive demonstration of military strength and resolve. For the sake of both Israelis and Palestinians, Israel must be allowed to destroy Hamas.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Choose the only right path

In the end peace is also in Israel’s interest, argues Naftemporiki:

“What does self-defence mean in practice? As is so often the case, there is a danger that a just principle, once it becomes absolute, will be the driving force behind never-ending violence. And that it will lead to the opposite of the original goal. Wars flare up on the thin line of legitimate defence and gradually transform it into an illegal attack. ... There are two paths. Either war, war, war. Or the attempt to move towards peace. And that is also in Israel’s interest.”

Michalis Psilos
Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Exploit EU’s soft power

Europe has an important task, Corriere della Sera insists:

“If internal divisions and institutional regulations prevent direct intervention on the ground, the EU must at least act on its preferred terrain: persuasion, consensus-building, dialogue. ... In the absence of hard power (based on determination and deterrence, like that of the United States), the EU should exploit its soft power capital. ... Showing the world its model for peace, prosperity and justice is only the first step that a ‘normative’ power like the EU can take. The next is to identify and support those leaders and organisations that can change their countries’ illiberal regimes from within.”

Maurizio Ferrera
Politiken (DK) /

Draft a plan and pressure both sides

Politiken doesn’t believe the conflict parties will be able to reach a peaceful solution on their own:

“How and when the war will end is not clear, but already there is an urgent need to develop an international plan for Gaza’s future. ... A long-term solution must be found that both ensures Israel’s security and offers hope and quality of life in Gaza. Ideally through a Palestinian state, which should have become a reality long ago. For an agreement to be reached between Israelis and Palestinians, massive pressure is needed from both the West and the Arab world.”

Marcus Rubin
Times of Malta (MT) /

Send in a peacekeeping force now

Decisive military intervention is needed, says the Times of Malta:

“The United Nations Security Council should order an immediate ceasefire, place a peacekeeping force between the Israeli army and the Palestinians along the borders defined in Resolution 242 and, in exchange for all the hostages and the complete cessation of bombing and raids, declare the State of Palestine. The 75-year-old political conflict cannot be resolved by negotiations between Israel and Palestine. The solution has to be imposed upon Israel and the Palestinians from the outside. And it has to be imposed now.”

John Vassallo