Middle East peace process itself among casualties of Gaza fighting
Efraim Halevy, former chief of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, said that Israel had three alternatives in Gaza: to destroy Hamas, leaving the enclave to its more radical groups; to reoccupy the area after evacuating it in 2005; or to start a process where the hostile environment is slowly reduced by preventing the influx of new weapons into Gaza while allowing Hamas to increase its civilian political role.
"After the elections are over, Israel will have to sit down and ask itself, 'Where do we go from here?"' Mr Halevy said in an interview.
"If you aim for deterrence rather than trying to destroy your enemy, that means you accept his legitimacy, I think."
The most promising prospect for any sort of compromise appears to be between the Palestinian factions, rather than with Israel, and comes after four reconciliation agreements in recent years failed to yield results. But there are mixed messages on this front as well.
Ahmed Yousef, an analyst close to the Hamas leaders, said in an interview Friday that Mr Abbas had spoken frequently in recent days with Khaled Meshal, the political head of the party who brokered the cease-fire, and that "the whole mood has been changed."
But at a news conference with Arabic-speaking reporters yesterday, Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, was full of venom for Abbas, blaming him for the Israeli blockade on Gaza and the factional divide, and accusing him of capitulating to Israel and the US.
With momentum not only from the recent fighting but also from increased regional support that began with the visit to Gaza last month by the emir of Qatar and his $400 million purse, Hamas is likely to have the upper hand in any such reconciliation, and even moderate West Bank leaders last week said the vision going forward is about resistance rather than negotiation.
Still, Mr Yousef, a former Haniya adviser who now runs a research organization, House of Wisdom, offered some hints at moderation himself. He said Hamas, which has opposed the United Nations bid almost as vociferously as Israel, would no longer speak against it. Asked about his vision for a Palestinian state, Mr Yousef's contours echoed those of Mr Abbas: 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital.
As for recognizing Israel, he said, "We'll talk about it when we have a Palestinian state." The official in the Israeli prime minister's office was careful to speak of the cease-fire as a negotiation with Egypt and not Hamas, which it has long refused to deal with directly. That policy could change, he said, if Hamas were to renounce all violence and recognize Israel's right to exist. But, he added, "At the moment, that's not likely."
The eight days of fighting between Hamas and Israel left more than 160 Palestinians and six Israelis dead, but there may be another casualty from the sudden burst of violence: whatever small chance there was for reviving a long-moribund peace process.
Emboldened by landing rockets near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - and by the backing of Egypt and other regional powers - Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, has emerged as the dominant force in a divided Palestinian leadership, its resistance mantra drowning out messages of moderation.
The word "peace" has hardly been heard in public here since the shelling stopped, never mind the phrase "two-state solution."
In a sermon-like speech Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya promised on Thursday to "establish an independent state on all Palestine land," foreboding words from the leader of an organization whose charter prophesizes Israel's elimination.
And that leaves Israel, which along with the US and Europe considers Hamas a terrorist organization, with an adversary it has long been unwilling to engage - which might suit its hawkish leadership just fine.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long insisted that negotiations are stalled because he lacks a willing Palestinian partner for peace, and it will be easier for him to argue against engagement if Hamas is the group he is supposed be sitting across at the bargaining table.
"Israel and the Palestinians have been far from any deal for some time, and this just makes it farther away," said Nathan Thrall, Middle East analyst for the International Crisis Group.
"Prospects for a two-state solution are on the losing end," Thrall's group said in an after-action report published Friday.
"Then again, what else is new?" Hamas' strengthened position might even pave the way for unilateral actions by Israel sought by some on the right - annexing parts of the West Bank, for example, or shutting off Gaza more completely - that redraw the political landscape, analysts say.
"I see many on the Israeli right who have an interest in this reality," said Shlomo Brom, director of the program on Israel-Palestinian relations at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
"If, like Netanyahu, you don't want an agreement or you don't believe in one, it is very comfortable for them that Hamas is there."
Left in the rubble after a week of relentless rocket fire into Israel and the Israeli bombing of more than a thousand targets in Gaza was the type of introspection that might lead to compromise.
The violence, instead, exposed one of the unsettling realities of a conflict that has defied resolution for decades. Both sides deeply believe they are winning, and that they are right.
This latest round of hostilities seems only to have reinforced those ideas, causing Palestinians even in West Bank universities with little Hamas presence to raise the faction's signature green flag, and leaving some Israelis asking whether the assault on Gaza stopped short.