A Hamas official has just announced that Egypt has brokered a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. An Israeli official said that the announcement is premature, and that Israel is not prepared to call off military operations in Gaza, home to 1.7 million Palestinians. Hilary Clinton will arrive shortly in Jerusalem to visit Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The U.S. Congress has declared Hamas a terrorist organization (something Clinton herself supported as a presidential candidate in 2008), and so Clinton cannot negotiate directly with them, but she will speak with Egyptian officials, who support Hamas.
Both Israel and Hamas have said at various points that they prefer a diplomatic solution than military action, which, if it continues, would likely turn into a ground war. However, Israel has said that it wants to work out a long term solution, and that if it can’t do that, it will continue its attacks on Gaza. Israel, has the backing of the United States, and has shown no particular eagerness to back down. It is likely that they are holding out for certain concessions, which Hilary Clinton may be able to extract from Hamas (through negotiations with Egypt).
The situation is unfolding by the hour, and we will have updates throughout the day.