The Struggle for Stability: Arab Reactions to the Hamas-Israel War

In early autumn 2023, there seemed to be much reason for optimism about the future of the Middle East. Of the two dominant geopolitical vectors in the region – that of regional integration and conflict reduction, encompassing the Arab monarchies, Egypt and Israel, and that of the violent "Resistance", comprising Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and the pro-Iranian Shi’i Iraqi militias – the first seemed to have the upper hand. Plans and projects for regional integration and "mini-lateralism" were progressing. A broader process of conflict resolution and management – encompassing détentes between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Iran, Qatar, and Turkey; as well as between Turkey and Egypt and even Israel - was moving forward in the region. Saudi - Israeli normalization seemed to be in the cards.

The surprise attack and outrages of October 7th, and the war in Gaza in its aftermath, have derailed these trends; disrupting them may in fact have been part of Hamas' aims. While it seems that Hamas acted mostly alone in the timing of its invasion, it has embroiled its allies in escalated conflict. This joint MDC/KAS publication surveys conservative Arab reactions to the war, focusing on emerging trends and preliminary reactions to the war's first 3-4 months (October 2023-January 2024). These short analytical essays represent the MDC's continuing effort to assess different perceptions of the war across the region.

*The articles in this collection were written in January 2024 and prepared for publication in early March.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction - Joshua Krasna
  2. Jordan’s Reaction to the Gaza War: Caught Between the Public and the 'Big Bad World' - Jonathan Franco
  3. Egypt’s Perspective on Israel’s War against Hamas in Gaza - Michael Barak
  4. Qatar’s Need for Adaptation: Shifting Foreign Policy in the Middle East - Moran Zaga
  5. The Palestinian Authority and the West Bank in the "Iron Swords" Operation - Michael Milshtein
  6. Arab-Israeli Society’s Discourse on the War Between Israel and Hamas - Arik Rudnitzky
  7. Morocco and the Israel-Gaza War: Riding Out the Storm - Daniel Zisenwine
  8. The Arab Media Discourse Following the October 7 Attacks - Tom Sharon


Please download the full publication here.

KAS-MDC - The Struggle for Stability: Reactions to the Hamas-Israel War_cover
[IIustration Credit: Yitz Woolf Design]