With intensifying international pressure to end hostilities, a brief lull in fighting currently prevails in Gaza. But a formal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has proven elusive.
Israel and Hamas have found themselves sucked into a conflict that neither side really wanted and that outside powers seem reluctant or unable to stop.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has to work through parties who are in direct touch with Hamas, such as the Palestinian Authority and maybe the Qatari government, to work out a ceasefire.
Egypt is a party to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It probably has to be part of the solution. But it can’t play the same kind of brokering role that it played in the past.
Predicting how Hamas is likely to act and react requires probing what the organization can do, what it wants, and how it sees itself. From Hamas’s angle, the current fighting offers just as many opportunities as threats.
When innocents die, standard military metrics for success or failure pale in comparison with the human costs depicted so graphically in the media.
In the past, Egypt has played the leading role in brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the United States played more of a supportive role.
Engagements with Israel have a contradictory effect of bolstering the credibility of Hamas.
The United States has made the argument that the changed regional context should make Israel more eager to make peace with the Palestinians.
There is a Sarajevo somewhere in Jordan, the type of red line that triggers historic change much like the epoch-making events in Sarajevo that spawned World War I 100 years ago.