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Can Israel end this war at a time of its choosing?

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“What’s the point of having a cease-fire if you’re just going to use it to rebuild?” he asks. “Then the next time you have a war, it’s going to be much more difficult and many more people will get killed. Why should Israel agree to that?”

For Hamas, the terms of a long-term cease-fire would likely require that it takes action to prevent attacks against Israel, and puts an end to smuggling through tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border – the latter a condition Hamas is loath to accept, Baskin says.

Egypt, one of the few entities with ties to both Israel and Hamas, is leading efforts to arrange a cease-fire as Palestinian casualties approach 100. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also in Cairo for talks. But since the last Gaza war, Israel’s relations with both Egypt and Turkey have deteriorated.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was elected by newly empowered citizens, is far more bound than his predecessor was by the Egyptian public's overwhelming popular support for Palestinians. His government, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, is also much more closely aligned with Hamas ideologically, since the group is a spin-off of the Brotherhood. 

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