Israel-Palestine conflict: attack on Jenin

For the first time in two decades Israel has launched a large-scale military offensive in the West Bank. After several air strikes on Monday night, Israeli troops carried out raids in the city of Jenin, which is considered a stronghold of militant Islamists. According to the Palestinian side, at least nine people have been killed, while Israel reported several arrests and the discovery of weapons and explosives.

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Mahmoud Abbas’s power vacuum

Israel is afraid that Hamas will grow even more influential than it already is, Corriere della Sera writes:

“The Israelis fear that the power vacuum created by the ineffectiveness of President Mahmoud Abbas will give Hamas more leeway, as it did before in Gaza. ... Unlike in the 2000s, Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat, no longer dominates even in areas like Jenin, and groups are emerging that do not belong to the traditional factions. Negotiations on a peace agreement have been frozen since 2014, some Israeli ruling parties are seeking the de facto annexation of the territories and do not condemn the settlers, who have raised the level of violence with reprisals — referred to as ‘pogroms’ by Israeli authorities — against the villages from which the attackers came.”

Davide Frattini
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Not without risk

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung notes that the offensive is fraught with danger:

“Many an Israeli soldier has lost his life in the maze of alleys of the former refugee camp that has become a city. Here Palestinian terrorist organisations keep a tight rein on their retreats. Israel’s security forces can deal blows to these cells, but everyone knows how quickly the structures reemerge if nothing changes in the basic situation. ... So far, Israeli governments have mostly been able to rely on citizens rallying around the army when things get really precarious. But if they get the feeling that young Israelis are being sacrificed to suit the violent logic of an extremist government, things could soon become even more difficult for Netanyahu.”

Alexander Haneke
Der Standard (AT) /

EU criminally passive

By standing idly by the EU is making itself an accomplice of the enemies of peace, criticises Der Standard:

“Europe is making things too easy for itself. On the one hand it lets the cash flow out of solidarity with Israel, on the other it sends humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. If Israel breaks international law and tears down a school in the West Bank that was built with EU money, it is rebuilt with EU money. At the same time, we stand by and watch as Israel’s ultra-right religious government effectively annexes part of the West Bank. ... The enemies of peace on both sides benefit from this, while those who are still committed to dialogue are being left in the lurch.”

Maria Sterkl