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.
But it minced no words about the victims. "This short war has been, as President Obama might put it, a teachable moment," it said. "A pity the education came at such a high price. And that, once more, all the wrong people -- the civilians on both sides -- were asked to foot the bill."
Over the eight days of conflict, Palestinians counted 163 dead and 1,225 wounded in the wake of 1,500 Israeli strikes, Gaza's Health Ministry said.
Hamas' military wing, the al Qassam brigade, said it fired 1,573 rockets toward Israel during the hostilities, including three shot toward Jerusalem.
In addition to the six Israeli fatalities, 200 others were wounded.
A spokesman for Netanyahu told CNN on Thursday that Hamas' stance toward Israel harms the ability to negotiate.
"You must remember, Hamas, unfortunately, is the enemy of peace," said the spokesman, Mark Regev. "Hamas doesn't want to negotiate. Hamas says that any Palestinian who negotiates with Israel is a traitor to the Palestinian cause."
At the same time, Regev said Israel has called on Palestinian leaders to restart peace talks and was hoping for a positive response soon.
At the Gaza City rally, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath of Fatah blamed Israel for the division of loyalties between the two groups.
He called for unification to thwart "what the enemy is wanting to do" and passed on greetings from Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.
"Thank God, through you, we were able to push back this naked aggression that targeted Gaza and its people," Shaath said, adding that "we should crown this victory by ending the division and expanding the national unity."
Egyptian politician Sayyed al-Badawi, president of the moderate Wafd Party, also congratulated the crowd, saying, "You have broken the will of the Zionist entity -- you have made them feel uncertain and insecure."
The agreement calls for both sides to move toward opening border crossings to facilitate the movement of people and goods.
On Thursday, some of the Israeli soldiers who had been moved to Gaza's border for a potential ground invasion packed their gear to leave.
Residents of Ashkelon, within rocket range of Gaza's border, expressed skepticism about whether the cease-fire would hold, noting that similar agreements have proved short-lived. Some said they would have preferred that Israel's military stage a ground invasion to destroy the militants' rocket capabilities.
Under the cease-fire, talks were to begin Thursday on easing economic restrictions on Gaza.