Furious at the killings of a militant leader and eight civilians on a Gaza beach in separate Israeli strikes, Hamas' military wing last week ended its 16-month cease-fire. Here's what happened and what it means for hopes of peace:
What prompted Hamas' move? First, Jamal Abu Samhadana, head of a Gaza security force, was assassinated in an Israeli missile strike. But it was the Israeli shelling of a Gaza beach--killing eight, including five members of one family--that united the Palestinians in outrage. Israel expressed regret, but that didn't placate Hamas' military wing, which ended the cease-fire and fired at least 15 rockets into Israel. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told TIME: "Hamas cannot stand idly by while the Israeli army kills women and children."
What's the stance of the Hamas-run Palestinian government? It's unclear. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called the beach attack a "war crime," but did not endorse ending the cease-fire. That suggests at least a modicum of division within Hamas.
Will the episodes bolster Hamas' support? Many Palestinians are weary of the increased financial and political isolation they have endured since Hamas took power in January. But now anger will probably be aimed at Israel, deflecting attention from Hamas' failure to solve those crises.
What about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' proposed vote on a plan to recognize Israel's pre-1967 borders? More than before, "the Palestinian street is furious with Israel," says an official in Abbas' Fatah bloc. Through that lens of anger, Abbas' plan looks too conciliatory , and peace seems an ever dimmer prospect.