The shock Hamas incursion from Gaza into Israel on 7 October has sparked a dramatic round of diplomacy across the Middle East and the world.
In major capitals, reactions unfold alongside Israel's military assault from the air and on the ground. Presidents, prime ministers and ambassadors have two aims: to set the boundaries of Israel’s coming ground offensive against Gaza and to influence the ultimate objectives set by both sides for this land home to 2.3 million Palestinians.
The ongoing flurry of contact between official government representatives and figures from intelligence circles will potentially contribute to what happens next.
Al Majalla looks at the current state of international affairs at this fragile and dangerous time and the stances being taken by governments worldwide, including in the region.
This review comes at a moment of great peril – for the region, the Palestinians and the world – as leaders everywhere react to an acute intensification of a long-running crisis.
Israel has made its aims clear. Netanyahu stated it would be a “long and difficult war”, promising Israel would win. How far it will be allowed to go – and at what cost – will prove definitive.
Israel says it wants to eradicate Hamas from Gaza, via comprehensive military action undertaken by air, land, and sea. Eliminating Hamas and its influence would amount to a substantial strategic transformation.
Israel has not just asserted its commitment to defending its borders, it has also signalled readiness to engage beyond them, including in Syria and Lebanon. With this objective in mind, it has already called for an international military and political coalition, like the one used against the Islamic State (IS).
It seeks and arguably has global support for its cause, both to bolster its looming ground offensive in Gaza and to deter the allies of Iran from opening other military fronts against it.
And so, Israel has already launched pre-emptive strikes on airports in Damascus and Aleppo.
It has also engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. While the established rules of engagement between Tel Aviv and Hezbollah have held, the sides have traded fire as far as the Shebaa Farms region.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has established a unity government and a war cabinet. It includes the leader of a centre-right party, Benny Gantz, opposed to the main coalition.
Netanyahu also has the backing of the main opposition leader – Yair Lapid, a centrist and former prime minister – to “eliminate Hamas”. But Lapid will not join the full unity government because he brands members of the Israeli coalition as extremists.