Hussein Ibish in The National:
Lost amid the carnage, the key fact about the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflagration remains largely unrecognised: Egypt’s new and pivotal role. Egypt has always been the default broker between Israel and Hamas, since it is able to deal with Hamas without according it any greater international and diplomatic legitimacy.
But this time it’s different. It’s no longer about Egypt playing a crucial mediating role. Instead, Hamas is mainly seeking to extract concessions not from Tel Aviv or Ramallah, but from Cairo.
Hamas, or more likely loosely affiliated rogue elements based in Hebron, deliberately lit a fire by kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers. This unleashed a brutal series of tit-for-tat attacks between Israelis and Palestinians that spiralled out of control.
Certainly, the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah had no control over what was going on in occupied East Jerusalem, let alone unrest among Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The Israeli government, too, clearly lost control of the situation when fanatics grabbed an innocent teenager and tortured and burnt him to death. Even Israel’s security forces seemed to be acting beyond any bounds of restraint as they brutally beat a 15-year-old Palestinian-American cousin of the murder victim.
Passions ruled the day. Years of incitement and frustration on both sides boiled over.
As rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza increased, it also seemed that Hamas leaders perhaps didn’t control their own military, and certainly not that of other, more extreme groups like Islamic Jihad.
Yet Hamas sought some kind of benefit in the chaos.