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Reflections on the Gaza conflict

July 25th, 2014

A columnist in the leading conservative daily contends that the primary cause of the Middle East conflict is the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. His left-wing counterpart, on the other hand, believes that the violence is being provoked first and foremost by Hamas and other radical Palestinian organizations.

“There is no excuse for bombing hospitals and attacking civilians,” Tamás Pilhál comments in Magyar Nemzet (print edition). He dismisses allegations that the strikes are surgical, since according to a UN estimate, two-thirds of the victims in Gaza are civilians. Israel as an EU partner that claims to respect human rights and likes to remind other countries of their past crimes, should receive more attention than violent regimes in the developing world, Pilhál believes. He accuses Israelis of “gathering on the hills with coke and popcorn to watch the show, as if they were in the cinema.” He identifies the occupation of Palestinian territories and the blockade of Gaza as the main causes of the conflict. “People in Gaza and on the West Bank have for sixty years been dreaming of peace and silence, but their invaders are unwilling to stop their tanks,” Pilhál concludes. He makes no mention of Hamas firing missiles towards Israeli settlements.

In Népszava, Richárd Molnár writes that wars break out if all adversaries in a conflict are confident that they are in the right right, and thus no peaceful mediation is possible. The last time Israel was positive about a Palestinian state was in 2005 when it withdrew from Gaza. The result was a takeover there by Hamas which has never ceased its armed struggle against Israel. At present none of the two parties seem to recognise each other, thus Molnár fears that the violent conflict will continue “until one side completely destroys the other.” In fact, he sugests, Hamas’s strategy is to maintain its rule over Gaza by perpetuating the conflict. Radicals in Gaza provoke Israeli strikes and the boycott of Gaza, in order to mobilize Palestinians against Israel. As long as Hamas launches rockets against Israeli territories, “Israel cannot avoid killing hundreds in Gaza,” Molnár concludes.


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