"In the absence of effective Egyptian participation, and with Hamas's political leadership holed up in Doha, a vital key to a cease-fire seems unavailable. Hamas is therefore on autopilot, trying to wrest any tangible win from a slugging match that has barely damaged Israel, while exposing the Gazan people to constant air assault and the possibility of a costly ground invasion. It has no outside allies to call upon; no friendly power it can claim has compelled it to back down," writes Steven Simon for the Middle East Institute.
"For Hamas, Egypt's involvement must go further than reinstating a simple cease-fire based on 'quiet-for-quiet' between the two sides, while leaving political developments for future discussions. The recent proposal is strikingly similar to the 2012 agreement, which began to fall apart soon after it became clear that the promised normalization of Gaza would not be forthcoming. Stability between Hamas and Israel will require a long-term political approach for Gaza," write Benedetta Berti and Zack Gold in Foreign Affairs.
"Mr Netanyahu's problem is not victory per se – but, rather, victory to what end? His difficulty in closing out this latest round originates from his lack of an end game, in either Gaza or the West Bank – at least not one he will acknowledge publicly. He does not want to reoccupy Gaza and to formally reassume responsibility for its 1.7m inhabitants. He knows responsibility cannot be forced on Egypt and he has no interest in handing Gaza to Mr Abbas in order to strengthen the moderate Palestinian camp," writes Daniel Levy in the Financial Times.
China Moves Provocative Oil Rig
China's state-owned oil firm is moving a drilling rig (WSJ) out of the contested South China Sea waters where it has provoked clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels. Beijing maintained its right to explore in the area.