Following days of rocket attacks into southern Israel, Israel launched a series of deadly airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari amid a broader military campaign. Coming against the backdrop of warming relations between Hamas and other regional powers, the offensive is testing Israel’s relations with key U.S. allies such as Egypt, which promptly recalled its ambassador to Israel.
Mouin Rabbani, an independent Middle East analyst based in Jordan, and Nathan Thrall, an analyst with the Middle East program of the International Crisis Group based in Israel, both told Trend Lines in email interviews that Israel’s Gaza operation is likely to lead other regional powers to expand their support for the Gaza-based Hamas.
“Efforts to engage Hamas play well with public opinion in Turkey, Egypt and the wider Middle East,” said Thrall. “If, as seems likely, this operation increases public sympathy for Hamas, it will make engagement only more attractive.”