As in the early stages of the war in 2006, the variety of reactions from the region are somewhat unexpected. the major actors in the region are a far cry from the usual accusations against Israeli military actions. Egypt, for one, is seen as complicit in the Israeli campaign. Hundreds of protesters in Washington, DC gathered, predictably, in front of the Israeli embassy. However, they marched from there to protest in front of the Egyptian embassy, as they did in London, as well. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit blamed the UN Security Council for not doing anything to stop the Israeli operation, however he used fairly non-inflammatory in urging Israel “to abstain from launching ground operations.” Furthermore, the Egyptian administration has not exactly become more popular by its refusal to open the border and allow Gazans into Sinai.
Yet, Gheit’s most “incendiary” comments were probably those in which he said that “Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel before any truce deal can be reached,” thus drawing the ire of Hezballah chief Hassan Nasrallah, saying Egypt was blaming the victim and that if they will not open the crossing between Sinai and Gaza “it would be considered a partner in the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli military.” This only served to prolong the yelling match between Egypt and Hezballah…
Another major player on the scene is Saudi Arabia, whose interests never quite seem to mesh with the rest of the region’s. The Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, has “blamed Palestinian divisions for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.” Implicitly placing the blame on Hamas, al-Faisal said that “This terrible massacre would not have happened if the Palestinian people were united behind one leadership.” Nevertheless, despite the obvious dislike of Hamas (probably due to their close ties with Iran), Saudi Arabia continues, at the same time, with a typical anti-Israel line, calling Israeli actions an “onslaught” and a “massacre.”
NEXT: More on the Arab World, Jewish World, and the ever-changing Israeli public.
UPDATE: Galei Tzahal reports that Egypt has renewed its ties with Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, in a supposed attempt to achieve a cease-fire.