After initial reports that Israel would refrain from retaliations (a Kuwaiti newspaper claimed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would respect the cease-fire as long as Hamas punished whoever tested it from the Palestinian side), Israel shut down two crossings between Israel and the West Bank--crossings it had just opened the week before in accordance with the truce.
The crossings are vital for goods to make it into Gaza, which had been under a punishing siege for over a year before the truce. On Wednesday, Israeli authorities opted to keep the crossings closed in response to vows by Palestinian militants to keep firing rockets. Is the truce broken and the siege of Gaza back on? According to Lebanon's Daily Star, "Hamas accused Israel of provoking other armed groups with its actions in the Occupied West Bank, and said troops had fired on Gazan farmers working the pock-marked land near the border with Israel on Wednesday. 'The closing of the crossings and the firing at Palestinian farmers are grave violations of the understandings of the truce and we call on our brothers in Egypt to urgently intervene,' [Hamas] spokesman Taher al-Nunu said."
But the Jerusalem Post was reporting that "Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner exchange aimed at securing the release of Sgt. Gilad Schalit from Gaza will resume on Thursday, an aide to Defense Minister Ehud Barak said," while the crossings would reopen on Friday--assuming no further rockets are fired. Shalit is the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas militants in June 2006.
Making sense of the Hamas-Israeli conflict (and truce) is a challenge. Here's a road map through the maze.