Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains

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Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains
Palestinian residents salvage items from the remains of their homes that were destroyed by an Israeli air strike on Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip on August 26, 2014. Israeli fire killed 10 Palestinians across Gaza on August 25, while Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian residents salvage items from the remains of their homes that were destroyed by an Israeli air strike on Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip on August 26, 2014. Israeli fire killed 10 Palestinians across Gaza on August 25, while Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian residents inspect the remains of their homes that were destroyed by an Israeli air strike on Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip on August 26, 2014. Israeli fire killed 10 Palestinians across Gaza on August 25, while Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke and dust rise after an Israeli strike hits in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The latest strikes came as Egypt urged Israel and Hamas to resume indirect talks on a permanent cease-fire, based on an Egyptian proposal for a new border deal for blockaded Gaza. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike hit Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. The Israeli military said it carried out a series of airstrikes Tuesday across the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rocket fire, a burst of violence that broke a temporary cease-fire and endangered negotiations in Egypt over ending the month long war between Israel and Hamas. The fighting occurred some eight hours before a temporary truce was set to expire. (AP Photo/Adel Hana))
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike hit Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. The Israeli military said it carried out a series of airstrikes Tuesday across the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rocket fire, a burst of violence that broke a temporary cease-fire and endangered negotiations in Egypt over ending the month long war between Israel and Hamas. The fighting occurred some eight hours before a temporary truce was set to expire. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A Palestinian boy with Hamas supporters holds a toy gun and shouts slogans to support people in Gaza and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo, Egypt, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Israel and Hamas are observing a five-day cease-fire which began at midnight Wednesday, in an attempt to allow talks between the sides in Cairo to continue. The negotiations are meant to secure a substantive end to the monthlong war and draw up a roadmap for the coastal territory of Gaza, which has been hard-hit in the fighting. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
A Home Front Command soldier escorts a woman in a state of shock minutes after a house in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, 13 kilometres from the border with the Gaza Strip, was hit by a rocket launched from Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave on August 26, 2014. Egypt has proposed a new ceasefire in the Gaza conflict that would open key border crossings into the battered Palestinian territory. AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH (Photo credit should read DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli man reacts after a house in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, 13 kilometres from the border with the Gaza Strip, was hit by a rocket launched from Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave on August 26, 2014. Egypt has proposed a new ceasefire in the Gaza conflict that would open key border crossings into the battered Palestinian territory. AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH (Photo credit should read DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
Israelis and emergency services gather at the site of a damaged house in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, 13 kilometres from the border with the Gaza Strip, after it was hit by a rocket launched from Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave on August 26, 2014. Egypt has proposed a new ceasefire in the Gaza conflict that would open key border crossings into the battered Palestinian territory. AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH (Photo credit should read DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian residents inspect the remains of a building that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on August 26, 2014, killing two Palestinians, as Israel pursued its campaign to stop rocket fire by Hamas militants from the enclave, medics said. Egypt has proposed a new ceasefire in the Gaza conflict that would open key border crossings into the battered Palestinian territory, after Israeli raids killed at least 10 more Palestinians. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian inspects the remains of a building that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on August 26, 2014, killing two Palestinians, as Israel pursued its campaign to stop rocket fire by Hamas militants from the enclave, medics said. Egypt has proposed a new ceasefire in the Gaza conflict that would open key border crossings into the battered Palestinian territory, after Israeli raids killed at least 10 more Palestinians. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians ride a donkey pulled cart as they carry some of their belongings in a street of Beit Lahia on August 25, 2014. A quarter of Gaza's population of 1.8 million have been made homeless by the fighting between Hamas militants and Israel since July 8. Egyptian mediators have proposed a new ceasefire in Gaza that would open the blockaded enclave's crossings and allow in aid and reconstruction materials, a senior Palestinian official said. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian travellers wait before crossing into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on August 25, 2014. Violence reverberated across Gaza with four Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian rescue workers search for victims in the rubble of house after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza strip on August 25, 2014. Violence reverberated across Gaza with four Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Palestinian security forces inspects the damage from an Israeli air strike at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on August 25, 2014. Violence reverberated across Gaza with four Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian inspects the damage from an Israeli air strike to the departure lounge of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on August 25, 2014. Violence reverberated across Gaza with four Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Two Palestinians walk between destroyed buildings hit three weeks ago by Israeli military strikes in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun on August 24, 2014. Israel and Hamas, who have been fighting for 48 days, looked unlikely to end their deadly face-off even after Egypt called for an indefinite ceasefire and new truce talks to end a war that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 Israelis, mostly soldiers. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians gather in the street amidst rubble outside a shopping center that was hit overnight by an Israeli air strike on August 24, 2014 in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of Palestinian Mahmud Abbas, who was killed by an Israeli air strike, mourn during his funeral in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Gila and Doron (2R) Tragerman mourn for their son Daniel during his funeral in the Israeli village of Yevul located near the border with Gaza Strip on August 24, 2014. Daniel Tragerman, four years old, was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians look through the rubble of a 12-storey apartment building that collapsed, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike, the day before in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of a shopping center that was hit overnight by an Israeli air strike on August 24, 2014 in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
The sister (2R) of Palestinian Mahmud Abbas, who was killed by an Israeli air strike, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Israelis Gila (2L) and Doron (L) Tragerman mourn over the coffin of their son Daniel during his funeral in the Israeli village of Yevul located near the border with Gaza Strip on August 24, 2014. Daniel Tragerman, four years old, was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his Gaza offencive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK, PALESTINE - 2014/08/22: An Israeli soldier shoots a tear gas canister into a crowd of Palestinian protesters. The Islamic Jihad faction organized protests in solidarity with Gaza, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. As ceasefire talks collapsed completely in Cairo earlier this week, and fighting renewed on Wednesday. Hamas launched a barrage of rockets towards Southern Israel, some reaching as far as Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, some 80 kilometers away from Gaza. Late Tuesday evening an Israeli missile struck the home of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif, killing his wife and three-year-old daughter. Deif, according to Hamas reports was not assassinated. On Thursday, three more to military commanders, Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were also killed in airstrikes. In response, Hamas killed what they believed to be collaborators with Israel in Gaza. 18 suspected of having worked with Israeli army intelligence have been killed so far. Late Friday afternoon, a four-year-old Israeli child from Nihal Oz was killed by mortar fire from Gaza. To date, the death toll from the Gaza war stands at 2090 Palestinians and 67 Israelis. (Photo by Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A picture taken late at night on August 23, 2014 shows smoke and fire billowing from a shopping center following an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. An Israeli air strike killed at least two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK, PALESTINE - 2014/08/22: An Israeli soldiers gets ready to throw a stun grenade into a group of Palestinian protesters below him. The Islamic Jihad faction organized protests in solidarity with Gaza, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. As ceasefire talks collapsed completely in Cairo earlier this week, and fighting renewed on Wednesday. Hamas launched a barrage of rockets towards Southern Israel, some reaching as far as Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, some 80 kilometers away from Gaza. Late Tuesday evening an Israeli missile struck the home of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif, killing his wife and three-year-old daughter. Deif, according to Hamas reports was not assassinated. On Thursday, three more to military commanders, Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were also killed in airstrikes. In response, Hamas killed what they believed to be collaborators with Israel in Gaza. 18 suspected of having worked with Israeli army intelligence have been killed so far. Late Friday afternoon, a four-year-old Israeli child from Nihal Oz was killed by mortar fire from Gaza. To date, the death toll from the Gaza war stands at 2090 Palestinians and 67 Israelis. (Photo by Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK, PALESTINE - 2014/08/22: An Israeli soldier looks through the scope of his tear gas gun, aiming at Palestinian protesters. The Islamic Jihad faction organized protests in solidarity with Gaza, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. As ceasefire talks collapsed completely in Cairo earlier this week, and fighting renewed on Wednesday. Hamas launched a barrage of rockets towards Southern Israel, some reaching as far as Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, some 80 kilometers away from Gaza. Late Tuesday evening an Israeli missile struck the home of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif, killing his wife and three-year-old daughter. Deif, according to Hamas reports was not assassinated. On Thursday, three more to military commanders, Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were also killed in airstrikes. In response, Hamas killed what they believed to be collaborators with Israel in Gaza. 18 suspected of having worked with Israeli army intelligence have been killed so far. Late Friday afternoon, a four-year-old Israeli child from Nihal Oz was killed by mortar fire from Gaza. To date, the death toll from the Gaza war stands at 2090 Palestinians and 67 Israelis. (Photo by Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Israelis Gila (2L) and Doron (L) Tragerman mourn over the coffin of their son Daniel during his funeral in the Israeli village of Yevul located near the border with Gaza Strip on August 24, 2014. Daniel Tragerman, four years old, was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his Gaza offencive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
The mother of Palestinian Mahmud Abbas, who was killed by an Israeli air strike, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman and child look at the charred remains of a car that was targeted by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
The sister (C) of Palestinian Mahmud Abbas, who was killed by an Israeli air strike, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in Gaza as militants kept up rocket fire, a day after an Egyptian call for an open-ended ceasefire to enable new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives mourn over the coffin of Daniel Tragerman during his funeral in the Israeli village of Yevul located near the border with Gaza Strip on August 24, 2014. Daniel Tragerman, four years old, was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives mourn over the coffin of Daniel Tragerman during his funeral in the Israeli village of Yevul located near the border with Gaza Strip on August 24, 2014. Daniel Tragerman, four years old, was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza Border on August 24, 2014, shows rockets being fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Israel and Hamas, who have been fighting for 48 days, looked unlikely to end their deadly face-off even after Egypt called for an indefinite ceasefire and new truce talks to end a war that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 Israelis, mostly soldiers. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian by holds a toy gun as he participates at a Hamas rally in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Thursday's rally drew several thousand supporters and a senior Hamas official has told supporters at the rally that the war with Israel won't be over until the group's political demands are met. Israel and Hamas were holding indirect negotiations in Cairo, Egypt about new border arrangements for blockaded Gaza and extending a cease-fire. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinian Hamas supporters gather for a rally in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Thursday's rally drew several thousand supporters and a senior Hamas official has told supporters at the rally that the war with Israel won't be over until the group's political demands are met. Israel and Hamas were holding indirect negotiations in Cairo, Egypt about new border arrangements for blockaded Gaza and extending a cease-fire. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A makeshift tent stands near to the destruction of buildings at a residential neighborhood, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Hamas held on Thursday its first public rally since a cease-fire with Israel, with Hamas official Mushir al-Masri, vowing the militant group would never give up its arms and will continue to fight until the Gaza Strip blockade is lifted. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Protestors light candles during a demonstration against the Israeli army's bombings in the Gaza strip, in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Hamas held on Thursday its first public rally since a cease-fire with Israel, with Hamas official Mushir al-Masri, vowing the militant group would never give up its arms and will continue to fight until the Gaza Strip blockade is lifted. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Palestinians participate at a Hamas rally in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Thursday's rally drew several thousand supporters and a senior Hamas official has told supporters at the rally that the war with Israel won't be over until the group's political demands are met. Israel and Hamas were holding indirect negotiations in Cairo, Egypt about new border arrangements for blockaded Gaza and extending a cease-fire. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian woman stands in the rubble of her destroyed home in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
A Palestinian youth wraps a bandolier of spent bullets leftover by the Israeli army, next to his destroyed home in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
One of the Palestinian protesters throw a stone as they face Israeli soldiers, following a demonstration to support people in Gaza and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo, Egypt, during clashes near the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Israel and Hamas are observing a five-day cease-fire which began at midnight Wednesday, in an attempt to allow talks between the sides in Cairo to continue. The negotiations are meant to secure a substantive end to the monthlong war and draw up a roadmap for the coastal territory of Gaza, which has been hard-hit in the fighting. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
One of the Palestinian protesters hurls a stone at Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the recent Israeli military action over Hamas in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday, Aug. 15 , 2014. Israel and Hamas are now observing a five-day temporary cease-fire in an attempt to allow indirect talks in Cairo to continue. The negotiations are meant to secure a substantive end to the monthlong Gaza war and draw up a roadmap for the coastal territory, which has been hard-hit in the fighting. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
A Palestinian protester throws a piece of concrete at Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action over Hamas in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday, Aug. 15 , 2014. Israel and Hamas are now observing a five-day temporary cease-fire in an attempt to allow indirect talks in Cairo to continue. The negotiations are meant to secure a substantive end to the monthlong Gaza war and draw up a roadmap for the coastal territory, which has been hard-hit in the fighting. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers aim hold their weapons during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the recent Israeli military action over Hamas in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday, Aug. 15 , 2014. Israel and Hamas are now observing a five-day temporary cease-fire in an attempt to allow indirect talks in Cairo to continue. The negotiations are meant to secure a substantive end to the monthlong Gaza war and draw up a roadmap for the coastal territory, which has been hard-hit in the fighting. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike hit Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. The Israeli military said it carried out a series of airstrikes Tuesday across the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rocket fire, a burst of violence that broke a temporary cease-fire and endangered negotiations in Egypt over ending the month long war between Israel and Hamas. The fighting occurred some eight hours before a temporary truce was set to expire. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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JERUSALEM (AP) - An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was holding Wednesday, as many people on both sides of the conflict wondered what was gained during 50 days of fighting.

The Gaza war - the 3rd round of fighting since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007 - left more than 2,200 people dead, caused widespread destruction in the densely populated coastal territory, and paralyzed large parts of southern Israel during much of the summer.

After more than seven weeks of fighting, the two sides settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt will maintain a blockade tightened seven years ago, despite Hamas' long-running demand that the border restrictions be lifted.

Early Wednesday the Israeli military said there were no reports of violations since the cease-fire went into effect at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) Tuesday.

Hamas declared victory, even though it had little to show for a war that killed 2,143 Palestinians, wounded more than 11,000 and left some 100,000 homeless. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and six civilians were killed, including two by Palestinian mortar fire shortly before the cease-fire was announced.

Thousands of residents of southern Israeli communities in range of Hamas rocket and mortar fire fled their homes in favor of safer areas, amid increasing bitterness over the government's conduct of the war.

Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had deliberately not put the cease-fire to a vote in his security Cabinet because of opposition from ministers who wanted to continue the fighting.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, a longstanding security hawk, lambasted the Israeli leadership in comments to Israel Radio early Wednesday for "wanting peace at any price," an approach that he said would undermine Israel's ability to deter militants.

Netanyahu came in for particularly piercing criticism from veteran political commentator Nahum Barnea, whose columns frequently crystallize the feelings of ordinary Israelis.

"Israelis expected a leader, a statesman who knows what he wants to achieve, someone who makes decisions and engages in a sincere and real dialogue with his public," he wrote in the mass circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. "Instead they received a slick spokesman and very little else."

In Gaza, life was slowly returning to normal Wednesday, as traffic policemen took up their positions in streets overwhelmed by vehicles transporting thousands of people back to the homes they had abandoned during the fighting. Harried utility crews struggled to repair electricity and water infrastructure damaged by weeks of Israeli airstrikes.

"We are going back today," said farmer Radwan Al Sultan, 42, as he and some of his seven children used an overloaded three-wheeled tuk-tuk to return to their home in the hard-hit northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. "Finally we will enjoy our home sweet home again."

While tens of thousands of Gazans dutifully heeded Hamas calls to flood the streets of Gaza City and other Gaza communities late Tuesday night, many appeared to be more interested in enjoying their freedom from Israeli air and artillery strikes rather than participating in any kind of victory celebration.

In the last 72 hours of the war, Israel had extended its attacks from crowded working class neighborhoods where support for Hamas is strong to a number of less militant areas, in a possible attempt to leverage middle class opinion to pressure the group to accept a cease-fire agreement more or less on Israel's terms.

Some Gaza residents expressed optimism that Egyptian-brokered talks scheduled to go forward in Cairo in the coming weeks will ultimately result in realizing the key Hamas demand of opening a seaport and airport in the territory.

While that seems unlikely - Hamas would have to accede to Israel's own demand of giving up its arsenal of rockets and other weapons - Gaza fisherman Ahmad al-Hessi exulted in Israel's apparent agreement to extend from three to six nautical miles the maritime territory open to Gazan fishermen.

"We heard last night we are allowed to fish six miles and it will be extended to 12 miles during negotiations," he said. "There is nothing better than this."

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Barzak reported from Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

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Gaza Cease-Fire Holds As Sides Weigh Gains

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