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November 22, 2012

9 questions about Israel-Gaza you were too embarrassed to ask

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

8. I also hear people mention Egypt. Whose side is it on?

In a way, the Arab world's most populous country is on both sides, and has been since striking a historic, U.S.-brokered peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Remember that Egypt shares a border with western Israel and Gaza. Egypt administers a single border crossing into Gaza, at Rafah, which has alternated between opened and closed. Since last year's Egyptian revolution ousted the reliably pro-U.S. dictator Hosni Mubarak, much of the world has been watching to see how the populist, democratically elected, Islamist-leaning President Mohamed Morsi would handle Egypt's traditional role mediating between Gaza and Israel, and whether he would betray greater sympathy toward Hamas. So far, Morsi seems to be emphasizing solidarity with Gazans but, broadly, is pushing for peace.

9. That was too much text, so I scrolled to the bottom to find out the big take-away from all this. What's going to happen?

No one is sure if the fighting will lead to a repeat of the 2008 ground war or will end with another uneasy ceasefire. But many analysts say that, in the end, the violence will likely not have brought either Israelis or Gazans any closer to peace. And they worry that both Israel and Gaza are following short-term policies detrimental to long-term progress. It's not exactly status quo for Israel-Palestine, but it doesn't look like a dramatic shift, either.

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