It was a setup.
Hamas knew that by sending tens of thousands of Palestinians to violently attempt to breach the Gaza security fence it would score mainstream media points against Israel, which had no choice but to defend its border with deadly force.
But, while much of the Western press was apparently too thick read between the lines (or, too eager to bash Israel), many in the Arab world laid the blame precisely where it belonged, at Hamas' feet.
Hamas' cynical exploitation of Palestinian civilians plays well in the Western media, but has long been reviled in the Arab world, even among those who hold little sympathy for Israel.
The Israel Foreign Ministry reported that its Arabic-language social media accounts had received a surprisingly high number of messages of support following clashes between Israeli forces and the Hamas-led mobs in Gaza on Friday.
From Saudi Arabia to Iraq to Jordan, many Arabs said they backed Israel in this present conflagration, while slamming Hamas for putting civilians in harm's way.
One commenter posted: "My heart is with my Jewish cousins. There is no escaping the fact that Hamas' Palestinian terrorism will inevitably end."
Another from Iraq urged his "Palestinian brothers to not be dragged by Hamas' terror plots, which will only harm the Palestinians."
At least one Arab social media user from Jordan criticized Hamas for burning thousands of tires and creating devastating air pollution for the children of Gaza.
A commenter from Saudi Arabia echoed Israel's own explanations for why peace with the Palestinians has yet to be achieved: "The war on terrorism begins with the removal of it from a conceptual point of view. There is no doubt that the Hamas terror organization is blocking any option for peace and is working to spread hatred and violence. Israel has internationally recognized sovereignty."
Israel's Ynet news portal reported that the number of messages of support from Arabs across the region was equal to the number of messages hostile toward Israel. It was further evidence that the tides are turning, and much of the Arab world has grown weary of a Palestinian nationalist movement that has traditionally aligned itself with the region's most hated players, such as Saddam Hussein, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.
PHOTO: The Palestinians are losing the support of the wider Arab world as they continue to engage in pointless and destructive confrontations with Israel. (Flash90)