October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

Egypt and Jordan Condemn Israeli Response to Hamas Massacre

October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

Egypt and Jordan Condemn Israeli Response to Hamas Massacre

Latest Developments

Egypt and Jordan on October 21 condemned Israel’s military response to the October 7 massacre by Hamas. Speaking at a peace summit in Cairo, the leaders of both Arab nations denounced violence against civilians, but made no specific mention of Hamas or the events of October 7. Jordan’s King Abdullah II called Israel’s military campaign a “war crime,” asserting that “the message the Arab world is hearing is that Palestinian lives matter less than Israeli ones.” Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi described Israel’s actions in Gaza as “collective punishment.” In an apparent reference to the Jewish state, he asked, “Where are the values of human civilization that we have established over long millennia and decades?”

Expert Analysis

“Jordan’s rhetoric toward Israel has been consistently in line with that of Hamas and Iran for several years now. And Egypt, while nominally aligned with Israel, has allowed for weapons smuggling to continue unabated at the Rafah Crossing. This has allowed Hamas to replenish rocket stores after every round of conflict. These two actors pose significant challenges to Israel, despite their peace agreements. The Gulf Arabs, by contrast, are for more constructive. Their positive influence must be amplified, and pressure must be placed on Israel’s ambivalent neighbors to isolate and delegitimize Hamas during this crisis and beyond.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“When Hamas ignited this war with Israel two weeks ago, one of its primary objectives was to scuttle the new peace negotiated in the Abraham Accords agreements of 2020. However, it is far from clear if Hamas will succeed. Moderate Arab leadership in Bahrain, the UAE, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have no sympathy for radical Islamist terror that Hamas unleased on the citizens of Israel. While the moderate Arabs may not openly voice support for Israel, they won’t be sorry to see the Iran-backed terror regime in Gaza dismantled.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Egypt and Jordan: Israel’s Long-Time Partners in a Cold Peace

Both Egypt and Jordan, despite decades-old peace treaties with Israel, have kept the peace cold, discouraging people-to-people contacts. In an October 7 statement, Egypt failed to acknowledge that Hamas committed atrocities and war crimes. On October 11, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated Cairo’s rejection of “any attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause by military means or displacement.”

Amman has also failed to condemn Hamas directly. Instead, Jordan’s King Abdullah told members of parliament on October 11 that Jordan’s “compass will always point to Palestine, with Jerusalem in its heart.” Queen Rania, referring to Israel’s military response, stated, “it isn’t self-defense if you are an occupying force.”

UAE and Bahrain Show the Benefits of the Abraham Accords

The UAE and Bahrain, Israel’s partners in the Abraham Accords, have cultivated warmer ties. On October 8, the UAE’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing “condolences to the families of the victims” and declaring that “attacks by Hamas against Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza Strip … are a serious and grave escalation.” Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid had a phone call with Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed on October 9 in which “Bin Zayed expressed his solidarity with the State of Israel,” according to a statement released by Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

Bahrain’s initial statement after the attack did not mention Hamas and warned that “the continuation of violence will impede the efforts aiming at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” However, on October 9, Manama’s Foreign Ministry denounced Hamas by name, saying that the “attacks launched by Hamas constitute a dangerous escalation.” The statement also condemned “the kidnapping of civilians from their homes as hostages.”

Welcome to a Brand-New Middle East,” by Varsha Koduvayur and David Daoud

Three Years On, Secretary of State Complicates Abraham Accords Expansion,” FDD Flash Brief


Arab Politics Egypt Gulf States Israel Israel at War Jordan