On Tuesday Hamas took to the streets of Gaza waving green Islamic flags atop the ruins of Gaza proclaiming victory.
Despite the destruction and massive death toll suffered by Gazans; it cheered victory saying it survived Israel's military onslaught.
Beyond its fiery words, however, Hamas offered no plans for rebuilding Gaza, which suffered some $2 billion in damage during three weeks of fighting. Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt, largely sealed since the Islamic militants seized power 19 months ago, remain closed and are unlikely to open unless the militants relinquish some control.
Israel has also claimed victory, but neither side was the clear winner.
The three week long war claimed the lives of 1,300 Gazans, the vast majority being civilians, and left thousands of Palestinians without homes.
On the Israeli side, there were relatively few casualties, 13 dead, including 10 soldiers. No internationally backed truce deal is yet in place to prevent Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel.
Israel had withdrawn the bulk of its forces from Gaza by Tuesday evening, coinciding with the inauguration in Washington of Barack Obama as president. However, the temporary cease-fire remained shaky. Israel's air force struck a Gaza mortar squad after it shelled Israel, the military said.
Hamas held more than a dozen victory rallies across Gaza, choosing bombed-out buildings as backdrops to underscore its message of defiance and its claim to have survived battle against a vastly more powerful enemy.