As I’m writing this article [Aug. 19], the negotiating parties in Egypt are endeavoring to reach some sort of agreement, however partial, that would regulate their relations for the near future. This is a problematic relationship, where one side (Hamas) got the other side (Israel) used to having rockets fired at its civilian population for more than 14 years. The other side makes do with temporary “lulls” that fade away after a few months and are replaced by what's known in Israel as a “trickle.” Put differently, what this trickle means is sporadic rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel’s southern communities and in the Gaza periphery only, while not “being an annoyance” to Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel’s central region.
The five-day cease-fire, declared on Aug. 13, was extended by one more day the night of Aug. 18. It's too early to discuss what the parties achieved, because that vague and elusive “thing” has yet to be achieved. However, the following can already be asserted: Israel has paid a heavy price of 64 dead soldiers as well as three civilian fatalities. Its economy and image were dealt a heavy blow. The tourist industry was paralyzed and the economy suffered for over a month. The summer break was ruined for the hundreds of thousands of students and their parents. All of this and almost nothing in return.