Israel and Gaza are involved in an escalating firefight that began with the exposure of undercover Israeli soldiers at a militant checkpoint in Gaza over the weekend. The Israeli probe there is part of an ongoing operation to limit Hamas’ ability to wage war. It may seem that this attempt failed, given that several hundred rockets have been fired into Israel. But the strategic situation goes far beyond this exchange.
For the Palestinians, one of their main challenges has been the profound divide between Palestinian groups. The West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, a descendant of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO is an umbrella organization for various Palestinian factions that all descended from the secular Arab movements that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. Gaza, on the other hand, is dominated by Hamas, a different strand of the Palestinian movement that took its bearings from the rise of Islamists. Ideologically, Hamas and th