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What Happens Next in the War Between Israel and Hamas?

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CMES Director Karin Aggestam has been interviewed by Swedish news service Omni about the next steps in the war between Israel and Hamas.

The article "Vad blir nästa steg – det håller experterna ögonen på i konflikten" (English translation: "What will be the next step - what the experts are watching for in the conflict") was written by Louise Cassemar and Josefin Pehrson and published by Omni on 10 October, 2023. Below are some excerpts from the article.

As things develop, what are you keeping an eye on?

– In addition to following the escalation of violence, one must now keep track of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, it is developing rapidly and is highly problematic. Israel has chosen a total blockade, neither medicine, electricity nor water are allowed in. It is very important to closely monitor Israel's troop movements and a possible ground invasion in Gaza. What happens in the West Bank and how the Palestinian Authority manages the situation is also crucial, as well as the risk of the war spreading in the region.

How can Israel be pressured to de-escalate?

– The starting point here is that Europe and the US are emphasizing Israel's right to self-defense. But at the same time, this is a deeply asymmetric conflict and pressure will be put on Israel to respect the principle of proportionality. This means that civilian deaths should be avoided as far as possible.

How can Hamas be pressured to de-escalate?

– Hamas might continue firing missiles while talking about the need for a new ceasefire. That is what the prisoner exchange is all about, how and in what way Hamas uses the hostages taken to pressure Israel. Egypt and Qatar have previously been able to mediate and put pressure on Hamas, but I don't think they will succeed because Israel is not interested in a ceasefire at this moment.

What is a possible end to this situation?

– Israel is right now not looking for a truce, but the removement of Hamas from Gaza and destroy its military arsenal. The Israeli Prime Minister has said that this will take a long time, and I think he means that the goal gain full control of the Gaza Strip. But the question is how and in what way? The worst case scenario is that this conflict escalate and diffuse in the region.

Read the article (in Swedish)

Karin Aggestam's research profile