The Palestinian militant group Hamas has agreed to form a unity government led by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and head of rival Palestinian faction Fatah. But who is Hamas? What is their relationship with Fatah, and what might Hamas gain from reconciling with them? Here are five key questions about Hamas.
Though the Iron Dome interceptor system has been credited for the minimal damage Israel has suffered in the current conflict, the threat from Gaza appears to be smaller than in 2012.
Will Israel send in ground troops as it did with Operation Cast Lead in 2009? Or, will this be a relatively short air-strikes-only operation, like the 2012 Pillar of Defense? On Saturday, Israel added another missile battery to its Iron Dome.
Israel's ceasefire with Hamas is holding, but unless Israel completely lifts its blockade and includes Hamas in two-state negotiations, renewed rocket attacks from Gaza are likely. Should that happen, Israel would not be justified in arguing self-defense.
Mahmoud Abbas’s successful bid for Palestine at the UN takes Palestinians one step closer to joining the International Criminal Court, where some hope to prosecute Israel. But ICC membership may force Palestinians to take responsibility for their own conduct as well.
Hamas has claimed total victory in the ceasefire with Israel. Sure, Hamas evaded a punishing Israeli ground assault in Gaza and gained some diplomatic support and recognition. But in the long run, Hamas is sowing the seeds for its own destruction.
Contrary to Hamas reports, Israel claims there is no ceasefire deal for the Gaza conflict. But US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is en route to Jerusalem, and an agreement appears to be in the making. Making it stick will require regional commitment.
So far, the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas is as much about muscle-flexing, installing terror in the enemy, and image management as it is about the sadly mounting toll of the dead.
For Hamas, a fear that capitulation will hurt their standing more than defiance. For Israel, it's a question of making good on public threats.