Key Arab States Hope for Weakened Hamas

[Ha'aretz] Zvi Barel - Judging by Arab leaders' statements to the media, or the slogans shouted by demonstrators in several Arab capitals, one might have thought that Egypt, not Israel, was the one waging war in Gaza. Thus far, Hamas has not succeeded in generating an Arab diplomatic initiative that would lead to a renewed cease-fire on its terms. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which view Hamas as an Iranian ally whose goal is to increase Tehran's regional influence at their expense, prefer to wait a bit in the hopes that Israel's military operation will strip Hamas of its ability to dictate terms. And without those two states, the Arab League will have trouble even convening an emergency summit. The absence of such a summit indicates that Arab solidarity with the Palestinians is crumbling under Hamas' leadership. Cairo is still furious with Hamas for having torpedoed Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah in November, while Saudi Arabia is wary of launching any new initiative after the reconciliation agreement it brokered between Hamas and Fatah in 2006 collapsed into bloodshed nine months later.

2008-12-29 06:00:00

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