The recent surprise attacks by Palestinian Hamas terrorists on Israeli town has not only escalated tensions in the Middle East but also unveiled emerging divisions among Arab nations regarding their stance on the conflict.
Despite being part of the Arab League, influential member countries have exhibited a lack of unanimous support or opposition towards Hamas or Israel, reflecting a nuanced and complex diplomatic landscape.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, both of which normalised relations with Israel in 2020 through the US-brokered Abraham Accords, have openly condemned the abduction of Israeli civilians by Hamas.
The UAE's foreign ministry described the attacks as a "serious and grave escalation," expressing shock at reports of Hamas militants breaking into Israeli homes and taking civilians hostage.
Similarly, Bahrain denounced the kidnapping of civilians and called for immediate efforts to halt the fighting.
In contrast, Saudi Arabia, a significant player in the Middle East, has adopted a more balanced approach.
While calling for restraint from all parties involved, the Kingdom did not explicitly condemn Hamas for its attacks on Israel. Instead, it emphasised the need for a credible peace process based on a two-state solution, highlighting the dangers posed by the continued occupation and deprivation of Palestinians' legitimate rights.
Qatar, known for its close ties with Hamas and substantial aid to the Gaza region, squarely placed the responsibility for the ongoing escalation on Israel.
The Gulf nation accused Israel of continuous violations of Palestinian rights, including repeated incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Morocco, expressing deep concern over the deteriorating situation, condemned the targeting of civilians without explicitly taking sides.
The North African country called for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to de-escalation, warning that further escalation could impede peace efforts in the region.
Other nations in the Middle East have opted for a more muted response. Two of Israel’s immediate neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, have urged restraint, with Egypt warning Israel not to take disproportionate action against Palestinians in retaliation to Hamas’ attacks.
The divergent reactions from Arab nations to the Hamas-Israel conflict underscore the shifting and often contradictory alliances in the Middle East.
While some countries have taken a clear stance supporting or opposing either party, others have navigated a delicate diplomatic tightrope, reflecting their unique geopolitical interests and considerations.
This lack of a unified Arab response to the conflict also highlights the diminishing influence of traditional pan-Arab solidarity, as individual nations prioritise their national interests over collective action.
The Abraham Accords, which saw the normalisation of relations between Israel and several Arab states, have further complicated the regional dynamics, creating new partnerships while straining others.
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