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Has the Moment Passed for Israel to Take out Hamas?

As a 24-hour extension of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continued Tuesday, with a deal still elusive, it is becoming less clear that Israel can still count on the political will or international patience that would allow it to remove Hamas from power in Gaza. News of a foiled Hamas coup against the Palestinian Authority has made the case against Hamas clearer. Yet several factors are now pushing against any decisive Israeli action–for now.

One is undoubtedly the Obama administration’s attempt to clamp down on arms shipments to Israel. Another is the threat of UN investigations for war crimes. The most basic challenge, however, is simply Israel’s desire to return to normalcy. Having thousands of reservists mobilized drains the economy and morale; being at war also takes a large toll of tourism and trade. The longer negotiations drag on, the better Hamas’s position becomes.

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