Israel approved the visit under assumption that the emir will offer financial aid to the struggling Palestinian Authority, and give Palestinian Authority diplomatic strengthening over Hamas rival.
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
Unlike in previous cease-fires, this time Hamas was quick to rein in small factions in the Gaza Strip, and handled an incident near the border fence with Israel differently than it would have in the past.
The true outcome of Operation Pillar of Defense will be clear in time: if there is quiet, the Netanyahu government can claim success, but if there isn't, the next military operation against Hamas will be with much greater force.
The hope is for a couple of years of quiet, diplomats said Tuesday night. To the people on the ground, that sounds a bit optimistic.
If the major forces of Sunni Islam in the region act as responsible adults, there is still a chance that Gaza will not see a reprise of Operation Cast Lead, an experience whose scars Gaza Strip residents still bear four years later.
As Israel attempts to force Hamas into a full ceasefire, it can expect the situation to become increasingly complex.
Despite the blunt statements, Cairo doesn't want a direct or indirect military conflict with Israel, not even if the fighting between Hamas and Israel continues.
Hamas knows the ramifications of targeting central Israel, but it might not be able to hold back; a rocket resulting in casualties in central Israel would probably lead to prolonging and intensifying the military operation.
This is not just 'another' assassination, but rather a hit on one of the top people in the movement and the person in the leadership most identified with the terror struggle against Israel.
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff explain the pressure on Netanyahu ahead of January's election to respond more forcefully to rocket fire from Gaza, and Israel's desire to avoid a ground operation a la Cast Lead.