Palestinians enjoy the Mediterranean Sea at a Hamas-run beach resort in Gaza City. Ventures such as beach clubs, wedding halls and a shopping center are one way the militant Islamist group is strengthening its rule over the Gaza Strip. Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR

In the Gaza Strip, many homes remain in ruins after Israel's military incursion at the end of 2008 crippled the territory. The war destroyed thousands of buildings, but the Israeli government won't allow construction materials in even though there is a dire need. Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR

A security officer from Hamas stands next to a damaged vehicle in the Gaza Strip on July 31. Israeli warplanes fired missiles, killing a senior commander of the Hamas military wing and wounding 11 others, in retaliation for a rocket from Gaza that hit the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. Hatem Moussa/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Hatem Moussa/AP

Arriving from India, a woman and her baby walk past Israeli flags at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in November 2006. They were joining members of the Bnei Menashe community, from India's northeastern state of Mizoram, who have migrated to Israel. Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Security forces guard a street after a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the entrance to government offices in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on July 4. Azhar Shallal/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Azhar Shallal/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Army armored vehicles leave their base on May 28 after a handover ceremony northeast of Baghdad. The U.S. plans to have just 50,000 troops in Iraq by Aug. 31. But many Iraqis say the country the U.S. is leaving behind is hardly a success story. Karim Kadim/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Karim Kadim/AP

A Sons of Iraq volunteer stands guard at a checkpoint in the Azamiyah neighborhood in northern Baghdad in September 2008. The U.S.-backed paramilitary force is credited with helping to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq. Now, its fate hangs in limbo as the U.S. withdraws its troops. Hadi Mizban/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Hadi Mizban/AP

An Iraqi army soldier and a U.S. Army soldier stand guard during a joint patrol in Mosul in March 2009. Maya Alleruzzo/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Maya Alleruzzo/AP