- First, the truce means Israel has given Hamas de facto recognition, acknowledging that the US-backed blockade has not worked.
- Second, although Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of Israel, with this truce Hamas showed a willingness to co-exist with Israel as Hamas's leaders have said they will pursue a long-term truce in order to build a Palestinian state.
Hamas has said that all militant groups in Gaza have promised to abide by the terms of the truce, which calls for Israel to ease restrictions on blockade against Gaza.
Skepticism abounds on both sides. However, both Israel and Hamas need this cease-fire. The Gaza strip has become an intolerable burden for both parties. Israel's economic blockade against Gaza has worsened a horrific humanitarian crisis. Israel has allowed only the most basic foodstuffs and medical equipment in, and virtually nobody out. Hamas is finally admitting the blockade is really hurting them.
What escapes notice is the people who live in Israel's border communities, who have also been suffering. Palestinian militants fire crude rockets into the border towns, killing and injuring Israelis, which then brings down massive retaliation from Israel's military. However, Israel has no effective defense against these rockets.
For Hamas, the lifting of the economic embargo and the subsequent improvement of daily life might persuade Gaza's leadership that negotiation is the best response. Why do I have hope it will last? Because of these words:
"We believe that what was agreed upon will last and the Palestinian people will see the fruits of their endurance," said Ismail Haniyeh, the senior Hamas political leader in Gaza.
It's a first step.