Arab Leaders Turn Against Hamas

Image: Arab Leaders Turn Against Hamas Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 07:40 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Israel has the tacit support of Arab states led by Egypt in its war against Hamas in Gaza, The New York Times reported.

Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have lined up behind Cairo in backing Jerusalem's military campaign against the Islamic Resistance Movement or Hamas.
The Arab Spring, a populist uprising which began in 2010 and empowered political Islam, unleashed chaos and threatened conservative Arab leaders, according to the Times.

In contrast to previous Palestinian-Israeli fighting in Gaza, Arab leaders are not pressuring Washington to tell Israel to stop. "That gives the Israelis leeway," Martin Kramer, an expert on Mideast politics and president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, told the Times.

Neither the Cairo-led coalition nor Israel want to see Hamas come out of the current fighting as the most "powerful Palestinian player," Kramer said.

Khaled Elgindy of the Brookings Institution agreed. "There is clearly a convergence of interests of these various regimes with Israel," the Times reported.

"The Arab states' loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu," said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert who worked under several presidents.

Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt overthrew his Muslim Brotherhood predecessor Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

While Hosni Mubarak and Morsi led Egypt, Hamas used tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula to smuggle weapons and contraband. Under Sisi, not only have the tunnels been sealed but the border crossings have been only intermittently open.

Salhan al-Hirish, a storekeeper in northern Gaza, told the Times, "Sisi is worse than Netanyahu, and the Egyptians are conspiring against us more than the Jews. They finished the Brotherhood in Egypt, and now they are going after Hamas."

In navigating the new constellation of Mideast alliances, Secretary of State John Kerry has come under criticism for turning to Qatar and Turkey to serve as his intermediaries with Hamas instead of Egypt, the Times reported. Doha and Ankara are backers of Hamas.

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