The round of violence on the Israel-Gaza ‎border over the weekend was the broadest since ‎“Operation Protective Edge” ended four years ago. ‎

The border has remained largely quiet since then, ‎but as time went by, Hamas has been increasingly ‎struggling to uphold the cease-fire Egyptian and ‎Qatari envoys were able to broker in 2014. If ‎anything, the past few months have proved that Hamas ‎is willing to take steps that will inevitably lead ‎to a conflict with Israel, such as the border-riot ‎campaign, arson terrorism or trying to cement an ‎equation by which any Israeli strike over the former ‎two would trigger rocket fire on Israel’s south. ‎

Hamas is not really interested in facing off Israel ‎again, as it knows that fresh hostilities will not ‎result in it being better off. It also knows that if ‎it pushes Israel too far, the Israel Defense Forces will bring about ‎the end of Hamas rule in Gaza. ‎

This, for itself, is nothing new, the difference is ‎that now, Hamas feels strong enough—confident ‎enough—to take this chance and deal with its ‎potential consequences. ‎

Being the seasoned political poker players that they ‎are, Hamas’s leaders assume Israel will be the first ‎to blink; that even if the IDF launches a military ‎campaign in Gaza, it will be short and end with yet ‎another flimsy cease-fire, one that will not ‎harm Hamas and maybe even result in an agreement ‎that would alleviate the dire economic situation in ‎Gaza.‎

It is therefore highly unlikely that Hamas will stop ‎its provocations, especially as it seems to be ‎marking some achievements, even if those are mostly ‎psychological, opposite Israel. It is equally ‎difficult to see Hamas agree to the first phase of ‎the U.S. peace plan, which entails the ‎demilitarization of Gaza in exchange for economic ‎relief. Hamas, just like the other terrorist groups ‎in Gaza, believes relinquishing its arsenal is akin ‎to suicide, which is why it will never agree to it.‎

In the absence of dialogue between Israel and Hamas, ‎and given the rift between Palestinian Authority ‎leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Ramallah government and ‎Hamas leadership in Gaza, both sides need someone to ‎help them climb down from the ‎very tall tree on which they are perched.‎

Such mediation could lead to an agreement that would ‎curb Hamas’s military activities and perhaps even ‎advance a deal that would secure the return of the ‎Israelis held captive by Hamas, which, in turn, would ‎enable Israeli gestures that would ease Gaza’s ‎economic plight.‎

Past experience has seen rivals Egypt and Qatar ‎assume the role of mediator. Egypt has a clear ‎interest in preventing a security escalation in ‎Gaza, as it may spill over its own border.‎

It remains to be seen, however, whether it still ‎wields the same influence on Gaza as before, given ‎the newfound chumminess between Hamas and Iran. The ‎latter would like nothing more than to see an ‎escalation in Gaza, as it would take the pressure ‎off Israel’s efforts to curb its entrenchment in ‎Syria. ‎

Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.