OUR friends the Saudiswarming to the Jewish state.
As Israel seeks to sideline Hamas in any accord on the Gaza Strip's future, it's finding quiet support among Arab nations where antagonism toward the Islamist group eclipses their enmity toward the Jewish state.
Egypt, which mediated a second 72-hour halt to Gaza fighting yesterday, is now ruled by an army chief who presided over a crackdown on Hamas's Islamist patrons. Saudi Arabia's king didn't explicitly criticize Israel in a recent lament over civilian deaths in Gaza. The United Arab Emirates, which pledged aid to help rebuild the coastal strip, is also hostile to political Islam.
There's an "alignment of interests" between nations that aren't allies yet have "common adversaries," said Martin Indyk, vice president of the Brookings Institution in Washington and a former U.S. negotiator in the Middle East. "As they see that the U.S. is less engaged than it was before, it's natural that they look to each other -- quietly, under the table in most respects -- to find a way to help each other."
Talks in Cairo first delivered a three-day truce that collapsed Aug. 8 amid a barrage of Hamas rockets. Israel sent a delegation to Cairo today after rocket attacks ended at midnight with the start of the second accord. Israel and Hamas are pressing for an agreement that addresses issues earlier pacts didn't resolve. Hamas wants to end the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, while Israel seeks to demilitarize the territory.
Israel has had greater contact in recent weeks with Arab governments opposed to radical Islamists, according to an Israeli official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to comment publicly. Israel, like the U.S. and European Union, considers Hamas a terrorist group.
Shabbat Shalom everyone.