By Roger Hardy
Middle East analyst, BBC News
The Palestinian leadership is meeting in Gaza in the face of threats from Israel over the safe return of a missing Israeli soldier.
Israel has threatened extensive military action in Gaza
A Palestinian militant attack on Sunday, which also resulted in the death of two Israeli soldiers, has added a new and dangerous element to an already critical situation.
For ordinary Israelis, it's proof that the Hamas-led Palestinian government is committed to violence - and that the ceasefire which Hamas had largely observed for over a year is now well and truly over.
Moreover the capture of a soldier is always a highly emotive issue in Israel.
All of this puts pressure on a new Israeli government still trying to find its feet - and vulnerable to criticism over its security policies.
Who's on charge
But this new crisis also puts severe pressure on the Palestinian leadership - and reinforces the impression that in Gaza and the West Bank no-one is really in charge.
Some Hamas officials seem to favour such attacks, while others see them as counter-productive.
And the situation is complicated by the existence of an array of armed groups - three of which said they jointly carried out Sunday's attack.
The focus of pressure from Israel and the West is the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas - not because he's necessarily in a position to deliver results, but because he's the only point of contact they have.
The danger of further escalation - with Israel threatening various punitive measures if its soldier is not released - remains considerable.