Israel and Hamas: will the ceasefire be extended?
The ceasefire agreed between Israel and the radical Islamic organisation Hamas has been in place since Friday and will continue until Tuesday morning. Hostages were handed over on each of the first three days, as agreed, and Palestinian prisoners were released in return. The pressure on Israel to extend the ceasefire is now increasing within the country and internationally. Europe’s press comments on what this means.
Mass destruction must come to an end
For the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, there is no alternative to a change of strategy in Gaza:
“The tactic of massive destruction has reached its expiry date. ... The greater the destruction in the Gaza Strip, the more civilian victims the war claims, the greater the danger that an even more radical generation of terrorists will rise from the ashes of Hamas. An uncompromising military approach may temporarily curb the terrorist threat, but in the long term it offers neither more security for Israel nor a perspective for the Gaza Strip.”
Israel facing a terrible choice
The dynamic that has been set in motion is putting Israel under major pressure, says the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“Unlike Israel, Hamas has every interest in the ceasefire lasting as long as possible. ... Because the longer it lasts, the more the war loses its deadly momentum. Many Israelis want to see all the hostages brought home alive. ... The pressure is growing to end the dying: in favour of whatever ‘negotiated solution’ can be arrived at. Those who do not believe in the miracle of comprehensive talks and an imminent two-state solution are faced with a terrible choice: tolerate the war until Hamas is destroyed, or let Hamas survive and wait for its next attack. Those who have to make this decision are not to be envied.”
Hamas still has to be neutralised
The ceasefire must not last too long, warns The Daily Telegraph:
“It is vital to remember that a lasting peace in the Middle East needs to not only recover 240 hostages but also to neutralise Hamas. ... The only way Hamas can survive, therefore, is if Israel is forced to stop its operation due to international pressure. This is not implausible. The longer the pause lasts, the harder it may be for Israel to receive backing to continue destroying the terrorist enclaves. The deal that has been struck will allow this peace to last for some time if Hamas continues to release hostages; at a certain point, that may not be to Israel’s advantage.”
People are forgetting what triggered the war
Israel is losing the information war, Népszava fears:
“The international reaction to the ceasefire and prisoner exchange has once again shown that although Israel may win this war, it has already suffered a devastating defeat in terms of communication. ... The international public’s memory has turned out to be surprisingly short: with the number of Palestinian casualties rising day by day, the atrocities of 7 October are being forgotten, as is the fact that Hamas alone bears responsibility for the outbreak of war.”