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Weeklies on Israel’s war against Hamas

October 16th, 2023

Commentators condemn the bloodbath perpetrated by Hamas militants in Israel and ponder the possible outcomes of the conflict.

In Magyar Narancs, János Gadó admits that from its own point of view, Hamas carried out a surprisingly successful operation in Israel which has boosted its prestige within the world of radical Islam. It has won a battle but is doomed to lose the ensuing war, he suggests. Nevertheless, the liberal commentator remarks that the terrorist organisation may convert its military defeat into a media victory. Its fighters hide behind civilians and launch their rockets from the neighbourhood of hospitals, schools and mosques – and when those are destroyed and the civilians are caught in the crossfire, the Western press will transmit images of horror for which the blame can be laid on Israel’s doorstep.

In Heti Világgazdaság, László Csicsmann, a well-known expert on the Middle East, wonders what will happen after Hamas is eradicated by Israel, since it’s competitor, the Palestinian Authority has lost all credibility among the population and therefore it is unclear how Gaza will be run after Hamas. Meanwhile, he fears Iran will use the conflict to ignite a regional conflagration with Hezbollah attacking Israel from Lebanon.

In Magyar Hang, Benedek Ficsor sees no way for military operations to solve the security problems of the region. He is the only commentator in the weeklies to warn against massive strikes on Gaza. It is fundamentally wrong to ‘honour the innocent victims of terrorist attacks by killing further masses of innocents’.

In Jelen, Gábor Miklós doesn’t believe that the Israeli army will be able to disarm tens of thousands of armed Hamas militants or confiscate all their weaponry. Nor does he believe that Hamas wants to be completely annihilated, although many within its ranks would opt to become martyrs of the faith. He deems it probable therefore that the parties will follow an earlier pattern by declaring a ceasefire under pressure from foreign countries.

In his Mandiner editorial, Mátyás Kohán believes, by contrast, that Israel will not stop short of wiping out Hamas, as any other solution would be unacceptable for the Israeli public after the murderous assault on defenceless Israeli citizens. On the other hand, the Arab world can no longer afford to seamlessly continue to appease Israel after the inevitable destruction of Gaza. That was precisely the goal Hamas was pursuing by attacking Israel, he believes. Its terrorists achieved their target at the price of their own lives – and the lives of many innocent civilians, he concludes.

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