Egypt Ambivalence Gives Israel Free Rein to Escalate in Gaza

Who Will Broker a Ceasefire This Time? It's Not Clear

Previous Israeli wars against the Gaza Strip have often stopped short with a ceasefire brokered by Egypt. Both the Mubarak government and the Morsi government had ties to Hamas, and an interest in a pact.

This time, Israeli hawks are thrilled, because Egypt’s new junta hates Hamas and seems unlikely to get involved at all. Israeli officials openly brag that “Egypt has given up on Hamas, they don’t care if we clobber them.”

International indifference to the conflict means Israel is free to escalate with relative impunity, with only the Arab League pushing for an end to the fighting so far. Hamas has not only lost Egypt, but virtually all of its overseas allies, and no one is going to bat for the Gaza Strip, even as the civilian death toll mounts. Egypt has ruled out any mediation role.

It’s good news for Israeli hawks in the near-term, but it’s totally unclear who will finally broker the ceasefire when Israel gets sick of killing Gazans, as Egypt doesn’t have the Hamas ties, and the US seems similarly uninterested in getting involved, meaning Israel could be getting into a war with no obvious exit strategy this time around.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of