Twelve years have gone by since Hamas overthrew the ruling Fatah movement in Gaza, years during which the conflict with Israel intensified. Now, however, following numerous rounds of fighting, the Hamas leadership appears truly interested in reaching a long-term arrangement with Israel. Israeli security officials identify clear signs that the rulers of the enclave are seeking long-term calm.
The first significant indication was Hamas' decision to sit out the violent clash between Israel and Islamic Jihad following the Nov. 12 killing of its commander in northern Gaza, Bahaa Abu el-Atta. Despite sharp criticism in Gaza, Hamas did not take part in firing hundreds of rockets at Israel.