CAIRO -- When Israel launched retaliatory air and ground attacks against Palestinians in 2008, Egypt's president at the time showed no sympathy for the Palestinian cause. He closed the border with the Gaza Strip and harassed aid workers and activists who backed Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza.
Indeed, Israel and Hamas are fighting in a whole new Middle East, making this conflict much more dangerous for both Israel and the Palestinians, analysts say. This is the killing season many feared might follow the Arab Spring, a testing of loyalties and revival of violence that seems hard-wired in the region.
Israel and Hamas have been preparing militarily, and this escalation is all the more worrisome because each has more potent weapons and refined tactics. But the politics of the Middle East also have shifted dramatically, giving more power and influence to Islamists who are aligned with Hamas. This, in turn, leaves Israel more isolated.