Israel’s Gaza Attack Continues to Further Split Arab Rulers, People

“War on Gaza” was the description the satellite channel al-Jazeera gave for the Israeli ground invasion that began Saturday, a culmination of eight days of bombing that have killed hundreds of Palestinians in the crowded seaside strip. But across the Arab world, the struggle was as noteworthy for what was becoming a war at home.

From Egypt to Saudi Arabia, longtime leaders of the Arab world, the attacks illustrated a yawning divide between the policies of rulers and the sentiments of those they rule. Although the Palestinian cause is cherished on the street, the region’s leaders are viewed as paying only lip service to it.

The gulf between the two is not uncommon in a region that remains, with few exceptions, authoritarian.

But exacerbating the tension is an issue that, although half a century old, remains at the heart of Arab politics: Palestine and its symbolism here.

The intersection of the issue’s resonance with official Egyptian and Saudi criticism of Hamas has created a conflict in policy and sentiment as pronounced as perhaps at any time in modern Arab history.

From the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2009/01/03/AR2009010302017.html
?hpid=topnews

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