The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has escalated massively. Palestinian militants fired hundreds of rockets, and the Israeli air force hit back with great severity. This is how the German and international press comment on the crisis:
Violence is escalating in the Middle East: according to the Israeli army, militant Palestinians have now more than 1000 rockets from the Gaza Strip Israel fired. In return, the army flew the heaviest attacks since the Gaza war in 2014. There has been tension between Israel and the Palestinians for weeks. There have recently been multiple clashes in Jerusalem. The triggers were, among other things, police barriers in the old town and the threat of evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah district.
The German press writes about the conflict in the Middle East:
"Volksstimme" (Magdeburg): “As if the corona pandemic wasn't bad enough, Israel suddenly finds itself in the next, not new, catastrophe: a military one Konflikt with the Palestinians. The starting point is - as is so often the case - Jerusalem. Because the apartments of Arabs are to be cleared there and vacated for Orthodox Jews, the Palestinians protested for days. Rockets from Gaza and the counter-attack followed. An angry outcry is going through the Arab world. There had recently been signs of rapprochement. Israel has established diplomatic relations with Bahrain and the Emirates. Sudan and Morocco are ready, negotiations are underway with Saudi Arabia. These steps towards acceptance of the Jewish state are now in question again. Because there has been no progress for years on the all-important question - the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. On the contrary: the slightest cause is enough for open war. "
"New Osnabrück Newspaper": “Every year the images are the same: Israelis save themselves from rockets by militant Palestinians in the shelters and in Gaza people flee from the shelling of the Israeli air force. In fact, the level of suffering among the people on both sides still does not seem great enough for the political leaders to seriously consider resuming the broken threads of the conversation. The establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and some Arab states in 2020 raised hopes last year; allegedly eternal enmity can give way to pragmatic cooperation. Israelis and Palestinians should follow this example, for the sake of the citizens. "
"Kölnische Rundschau": “The Palestinians' frustration has been piling up for many years. Not only that their justified hope of being able to live in a state of their own two decades ago (...) faded away. In the era of the desolate US president in terms of foreign policy <br><br>Donald Trump they were downright marginalized. (...) The international diplomacy hardly bothered about the calm limping, but smoldering conflict, looked away, sometimes powerless. (...) It is now taking its revenge. (...) The situation in the Middle East is more explosive than it may have recently appeared - also covered by the corona crisis, which is preoccupying the whole world. (...) It is time for the West to finally begin to play a constructive role in the region again with the help of the new US leadership. "
"Young World" (Berlin): “The hour-long bombardment with hundreds of rockets from Gaza, as reported by the Israeli military, is certainly traumatic for the residents of the Israeli cities near the border who rushed into their bunkers. (...) But most of these rockets are self-made, primitive missiles with little explosive power and range (...) According to the Israeli army, 90 percent of the projectiles are destroyed by the 'iron dome' interception system. Unlike Israel, the extremely densely populated one has Gaza strip over no 'iron dome'. When the Israeli air force bombed 130 targets there on Tuesday night, according to Palestinian figures 24 people were killed, including nine children. "
"Baden Latest News" (Karlsruhe): “The new violence between Israel and the Palestinians will fuel extremism in the Middle East. Radical groups like the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Sunni Islamic State will try to exploit the anger over the actions of the Israeli armed forces and settlers. Because important Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates have made their peace with Israel, Iran should now play itself all the more as the protector of the Palestinians against the Jewish state. "
"Pforzheimer Zeitung": “Germany has played its part in the hatred of Israel and the Jews in the Palestinian territories exploding. For years, Berlin has ignored warnings that German tax revenues are also being used to finance Arabic school books that demonize Israel and declare Jews to be enemies of Islam. The federal government also watches while Palestinian President Abbas misuses international funds to generously “compensate” the families of terrorists. The worse the crime, the higher the reward. In the autonomous Palestinian territories, murderers of Jews are transfigured into “martyrs”, and schools and sports stadiums are named after them. The seeds of hatred are now growing. "
"Südkurier" (Constance): The escalation has many causes. One of them is Donald Trump's half-disinterested, half-one-eyed Middle East policy, in the shadow of which the conflict could escalate. Successor Joe Biden cannot go on like this: The reactions in Washington show that the US government is ready to readjust. On the other hand, clichéd instructions from Germany such as that of Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who once again calls on both sides to moderate, are of no help. If a country is under missile attack, such appeals are pointless. Germany will have to position itself more clearly if Israel wants to take it seriously.
"Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger": “The Middle East conflict has not been as dramatic, as bloody and as dangerous as it was in these days for a long time. There are already more than two dozen dead. And what is the international community doing? As always, she stands perplexed before the spiral of violence and calls on both sides to exercise moderation. White ointment for a conflict full of hatred that has grown over generations. That can't work. It takes more than the obvious condemnation of rocket attacks on Israel and an escalation on both sides. "
"North Bavarian Courier" (Bayreuth): “Following a logic of internal and external threats, the State of Israel obeys other laws than a protected democracy such as Germany. Hamas, on the other hand, does not protect the Palestinians with its rockets, but rather sows violence in order to benefit from it. "
"Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung" (Heidelberg): “Hamas is not the modern avenger of the disinherited, who helps discriminated and now displaced Palestinians to their rights. It just seizes the moment and covers people with escalating violence. Opposite her is an Israeli head of government who has just been withdrawn from the mandate to continue, but who is still in office. And this man has a lot to lose with his charges and trials - including his freedom. Is it further astonishing when Benjamin Netanyahu reacts with severity and massive counter-violence? And don't the shelling by Hamas and Netanyahu's almost blind reaction belong in the same cynical calculation? There is also a third beneficiary of the escalating violence: the aged Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who has just canceled the first parliamentary election in 15 years for flimsy reasons. (...) All three would even be happy to have a third, bloody intifada. "
"Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung": “It is no coincidence that violence, brutal action by the Israeli authorities and rocket attacks by the Palestinians are now breaking out again. With the move from US President Donald Trump to Joe Biden, as in many other areas of American foreign policy, there was a shift in dealing with Israel. The new US administration does not yet have an ambassador, a Middle East representative and certainly not a strategy for how to deal with the situation in the Middle East. The current escalation of violence falls into this vacuum. The situation is so dire that a new intifada is to be feared. "
"Süddeutsche Zeitung" (Munich): “Hamas is rising to become the protective power of Jerusalem and defender of the Al-Aqsa mosque and can hope for broad support. In East Jerusalem, the rocket fire was cheered in front of the Damascus Gate. Hamas is calling for an intifada in the West Bank. And parts of the Arab minority in Israel also take to the streets. Hamas can therefore be satisfied with the start of the campaign. But now comes the problem: The Gaza rulers rely on a brief, violent exchange of blows with Israel to raise their profile. But it is completely uncertain whether Israel will follow this calculation. The army's response to the missile attacks was violent and painful. Now, however, the Israeli government is faced with the decision whether it wants to leave it at that alone to demonstrate its superiority in this new round of the old conflict - or whether it wants to deal a decisive blow to the so ostentatiously triumphant Hamas. This would mean a war that won't end anytime soon. "
This is how the international press comments on the escalation
"La Repubblica" (Rome): “An unprecedented rain of rockets was fired from the Gaza Strip on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: in the history of the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there has been no such offensive, measured by the number of rockets, hundreds per day, by the range of up to 100 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and on the clout. The trial of strength with Hamas, which has replaced the duel with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, with whose approval it probably began, makes it a head-on challenge between the Islamic fundamentalists of Gaza and Israel. The new blow that shakes the Middle East could thus mark the beginning of another great revolt: the "big one" that was predicted and feared for 20 years (...). "
"Dagens Nyheter" (Stockholm): “Another dangerous escalation of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, another defeat for the voices of reason. The old leaders stand in the way of new solutions. The Palestinians in East Jerusalem should not be put on the streets. Netanyahu should not remain prime minister for life. Abbas and Hamas should not choke off all democratic dreams in the West Bank and Gaza. Unfortunately there are too many “shoulds”. There are extremists on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they are always ready to sabotage the smallest signs of peace efforts. The old leaders block all new ideas and initiatives. And while waiting for the necessary change in power, the perpetrators are allowed to rule. "
"Guardian" (London): “De-escalation must be the top priority to protect the lives of civilians who are treated with such ruthless and deadly disregard by both the Israeli government and Palestinian militants. The international community must weigh in. Donald Trump had constantly incited Benjamin Netanyahu. Now there is a government in Washington that can seriously address these issues. She rightly condemned the militant attacks. But it must be similarly clear to the Israeli authorities, not only because of their military response, but also because of the measures that have foreseeably led to this latest outbreak of violence. "
"De Volkskrant" (Amsterdam): “Israel has announced the reinforcement of its troops on the border with the Gaza Strip and the mobilization of 5000 reservists. Therefore, it is feared that this will become a longer-lasting conflict. This has not happened since the 2014 Gaza War. Rockets continued to be fired from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli response followed. But the violence lasted no more than a few days. Then the international community, with Egypt, Qatar and the USA at the helm, understood how to move the parties to a ceasefire again. (...) What got into Hamas to play such a risky game? The organization saw its Palestinian rival - Fatah, which rules the West Bank - pull off nothing more than furious condemnations of the violence in Jerusalem in the past few days. Hamas saw the opportunity to distinguish itself: it posed as the protector of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque. "
"La Vanguardia" (Madrid): “Even in a country like Israel, which is used to violence, the number of civilian casualties in the past few days is causing an alarm. There are several factors that have re-fueled the old conflict between Jews and Arabs. These include the actions of the Israeli police against Muslims during Ramadan, the unrest over the eviction order against Palestinian residents in the Muslim part of Jerusalem, the provocative demonstrations by ultra-Orthodox Jews in the eastern part of the city and the police operations in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount . Those terrible days with shocking images of a Palestinian mother bending over two of her children who were killed by bombs or of Palestinians trying to lynch a Jewish driver may not be over for a long time. Here a great military power faces an adversary whose desperation is so great that he believes he has little to lose. But Jews and Palestinians must rely on a solution to the conflict instead of deepening it. "
"Tages-Anzeiger" (Zurich): “Hamas doesn't just want to challenge Israel. With this struggle, she wants to become the undisputed leading power among the Palestinians. That is what makes the recent round of violence so dangerous. The Islamists have ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, while the rivals from Fatah have ruled the West Bank. The President there, Mahmud Abbas, serves as a point of contact all over the world, while Hamas, on the other hand, is isolated and is blocked not only by Israel but also by Egypt in its enclave on the Mediterranean. (...) The Gaza rulers rely on a brief and violent exchange of blows with Israel to raise their profile. But it is completely uncertain whether Israel will play along. The response by the Israeli army to the rocket attacks from Gaza was violent and painful. But now the Israeli government is faced with the question of whether they want to leave it at that - or whether they want to deal a decisive blow to the ostentatious Hamas. This would mean a war that won't end anytime soon. "
"Die Presse" (Vienna): “The radical Islamists accepted the Israeli reprisals. They wanted the escalation in order to present themselves to the Palestinian population as heroes, avengers and martyrs. Nobody can seriously expect Israel to renounce its right to self-defense. Should it perhaps switch off its defense system and let rockets rain down on its citizens? To deter enemies from further attack, Israel must respond, and respond harshly. That is the military logic in this conflict, it is not a secret. With its attacks, Hamas wants to hijack the unrest in Jerusalem that has been smoldering for weeks and put itself at the head of the protest movement. But in this way the extremists only harm the cause of their people. With their stupid and counterproductive rocket fireworks, they put the Palestinians in the wrong. "