The Arab League is also pressing for an emergency debate in the U.N. Security Council, which the United States put off until at least Sunday. The Arab League needs to keep in front of the debate on Jerusalem, the analysts agree, and not cede the field to Hamas.
“This time the struggle is not only about Gaza but about Jerusalem and Al Aqsa and Muslims are committed to their defense,’’ Mr. Winter said. “Hamas has done a good job in its messaging strategy, and Arab countries must deal with this interpretation.’’
Egypt’s government is also worried, as are many in Israel, that destroying Hamas might open the door to even more radical actors in Gaza. But Egypt and other Arab countries, even if they repress internal protests and dissent, must align themselves in some fashion with public opinion, even if they fear that protests against Israel might quickly turn into protests against themselves.
For the Arab countries that recently recognized Israel, the confrontation is an embarrassment and a dilemma because it tests their influence, or lack of it, on Israel, analysts said.
The diplomatic recognitions were “supposed to give them leverage, and one of their arguments was that Israel won’t want to disrupt these new relations with the Arab world and so will hold back on things like settlements and Gaza,’’ said Mr. Elgindy of the Middle East Institute.
In fact, he said, “I believe the opposite — the Israelis now have more cover.’’
While these countries are unlikely to sever their new ties with Israel because of the economic and technological benefits, it will be more difficult for Morocco and Sudan, where there are more open displays of public opinion.
Qatar and Turkey are among the most prominent defenders of Hamas. Qatar owns the powerful Al Jazeera network, which is giving full coverage to the Palestinian and Hamas side of the story.