Most readers of this newsletter will probably at this stage be keeping a close eye on the latest round of conflict between Israel and Hamas, precipitated by Hamas' unprecedented attack on localities in southern Israel that killed more than 1300 people, including many civilians. In response, Israel has carried out intense airstrikes on Gaza and is almost certainly going to launch a ground incursion, which either aims to punish Hamas in such a way that it cannot launch attacks on Israel for a very long time (and certainly not ever again at the scale witnessed recently) or aims to dismantle the organisation in its entirety within Gaza. It is not wholly clear which aim will be pursued, or what plan Israel has for the aftermath.
In any event, Israel's response to Hamas has triggered widespread pourings of outrage in the Arab world, whether in the form of social media posts or demonstrations on the ground. These expressions of sentiments against Israel should be taken as reflecting the wider 'Arab street' opinion on the conflict, and should serve as a reminder that the Palestinian cause retains a deep popular resonance in the Arab world. It is not only inaccurate, but also unhelpful to suppose that wider Arab sympathy with the Palestinians and opposition to Israel are merely a creation of Iran and Iranian-backed armed groups.
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