After eight days of bone-shattering bombardment, Gaza was calm Thursday and Friday as residents of this battered land sought to return to their daily lives.
North of Gaza City, the Abu Khusa family was preparing to move to a rented house until they can repair their home's roof, which was blown off. In the meantime, they said, they were hoping the peace would hold.
"God willing, it will last 100 years, 200 years, for the sake of our children," said Shadia Abu Khusa.
In Gaza City, thousands of people took part in a celebration that was not so much of a military victory as a psychological one.
For impoverished Gaza, whose 1.7 million residents were massively outgunned by Israel's military, to survive was to triumph. "I think people feel now that the only way to push Israel to give concessions is resistance," said Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, who cited Israel's agreement to Wednesday's cease-fire as vindication of Hamas' struggle.
"Because President Abbas spent about 20 years in negotiations, but they got nothing from this," he added, referring to Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the rival Palestinian Fatah group, which governs the occupied West Bank and is considered more moderate than Hamas.
This new reality may embolden Hamas to push for even more.
After the cease-fire ended the flareup between the Palestinians of Gaza and the Israel Defense Forces, Hamas can claim credit for extracting important concessions from Israel, including its promise to loosen Gaza's isolation from the outside world.
Hamas has also shown that its rockets have improved and that it is not as vulnerable to Israeli airstrikes as it was during the "Cast Lead" Operation four years ago, when more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed. Its international stature grew as it gained popular and official Arab support.
Israel's military also claimed success, saying on Wednesday that it had destroyed "significant elements" of Hamas' rocket-launching capabilities. And its "Iron Dome" missile-defense system proved able to intercept numerous attacks from the south.
Netanyahu, who is looking forward to elections in January, also showed himself to be an effective military leader. Polls say the vast majority of Israelis supported the operation.
Palestinian leaders sought to cast the cease-fire as a catalyst toward uniting their divided factions, while Israelis said they were happy for quiet after the shelling and counterstrikes.
In Gaza City, supporters of Hamas and Fatah gathered near the Parliament in a rare display of unity that included yellow Fatah flags and green Hamas banners flapping in the breeze alongside Palestinian flags.
The mood was celebratory and militant. The leader of Islamic Jihad, a party to the truce that was brokered by Egypt and that took effect on Wednesday night, called for more weapons to maintain resistance against Israel.
"We should be ready through our unity, through our resistance, to keep the perseverance and steadfastness of our people," Mohammed Hindi said.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared in a televised speech that Israel had "raised the white flag." He described the fighting as "preparation to liberate Jerusalem" and the al-Aqsa mosque located on the Temple Mount.
Haniyeh, who heads the governing party of Gaza, said the cease-fire showed the United States had been forced to soften its stance in the region in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"The victory of Gaza is a solid truth, not a phenomenon," Haniyeh said. "The era of Egypt and the region has changed, and America has now begun learning to listen to a new language."
The violence left more than 160 Palestinians dead, many more injured and thousands homeless.
At least six Israelis were killed, including a soldier who died Thursday of wounds suffered Wednesday just before the cease-fire took hold, the Israel Defense Forces said. For the first time, Israel experienced rocket attacks from Gaza on its main cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The truce negotiated by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy followed a visit to the region by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a series of phone calls from U.S. President Barack Obama to the main players.
However, it was unclear if the latest events would lead to a resumption of long-stalled negotiations on a broader peace agreement or serve simply as a respite, as has occurred in the past.
"New dynamics in the Middle East potentially could make this time different," the independent International Crisis Group said Thursday in a report.
The report said Morsy's government had demonstrated pragmatism in negotiating the cease-fire and presented Israel and Hamas with the opportunity to reset expectations because it had credibility among Islamists.
"Ultimately, as the dust settles and guns turn silent, much more will be known about the new regional map -- how it works, who sets the rules, how far different parties will go, whether the obstacles continually encountered in the past can be overcome," the report said.