Why Arab Leaders Are Silent on Gaza

They fear Hamas more than Israel, 'NYT' reports

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2014 1:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – As Palestinian bodies pile up in Gaza, where is the outrage from Arab leaders? Unlike during previous Israeli offensives, countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan have failed to condemn Israel and push for an end to the fighting, and fear of the political Islam that Hamas represents appears to be the reason why, the New York Times reports. "The Arab states' loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller.

"I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas," Miller says. "The silence is deafening." Egypt has continued to blame Hamas for Palestinian deaths, and it and other Arab states now find themselves on Israel's side not just against political Islamic movements, but against Iran, analysts note. Meanwhile, the commissioner-general of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees calls the Israeli shelling of a UN school yesterday a "serious violation of international law," the Guardian reports. "Children killed in their sleep—this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame," he says. "Today the world stands disgraced." At least 15 people, mostly women and children, were killed.

A worker at Shifa Hospital's morgue cleans a metallic stretcher filled with blood from Palestinians killed in various Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City.
A worker at Shifa Hospital's morgue cleans a metallic stretcher filled with blood from Palestinians killed in various Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a UN school in the northern Gaza Strip, cries in the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya last week.
A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a UN school in the northern Gaza Strip, cries in the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya last week.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinian relatives mourn in the morgue of Shifa Hospital following an explosion that killed 10 people earlier this week.
Palestinian relatives mourn in the morgue of Shifa Hospital following an explosion that killed 10 people earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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The pendulum of the Arab Spring has swung in Israel's favor, just like it had earlier swung in the opposite direction. But I am not sure the story is finished at this point. - Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators

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