Arabs and Egypt, not Israel
Tank tracks tear up the roads around Rafah, machine-gun fire pocks the walls, sewage flows out of blown-up pipes and the nauseatingly sweet rotten-garbage smell of human corpses still seeps from under the rubble. As Gazans try to make sense of the devastation wrought by Israel, there is an overwhelming sense of abandonment by leaders in the Arab world.
But it's not just abandonment. This Gaza war has been in some respects part of a wider fight among Arabs. Since last year, when Egypt president Abdel Fattah al Sisi overthrew Mohamad Morsi and his colleagues from the Muslim Brotherhood, it's been apparent that a major counteroffensive is underway throughout the Arab world, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to crush the Brotherhood and its affiliated organizations.
Two years ago, the Brothers had seemed to be the big winners of the Arab Spring revolts, now they are under pressure or literally on the run throughout the region. Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have declared the Brotherhood itself a terrorist organization. And Hamas, a part of the brotherhood, epitomizes that label in their view.
None of this is the fault of the 1.8 million civilians who live in Gaza. But they are the ones who pay the price.
“The Egyptian government doesn't care about the humanitarian needs of Palestinians and just closes the border,” says Naser, a Gaza resident. “We find more support from Europe, Turkey, and Latin America than we do with our own people in the Arab world”.
And in this present war, Egyptian government appears to have been happy to watch Israel attempt to obliterate Hamas and much of Gaza along with it. Israel may not want to eliminate Hamas at the end of the day for fear whatever replaces it could be worse. Sisi appears to have no such qualms.