As the picture becomes clearer, so do the details about the Israeli failures relating to Gaza. Chief among them is the intelligence blunder concerning Hamas’ intentions. All along, Israeli leaders — from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the Cabinet ministers — believed that Hamas was not interested in escalation and that it had no interest in seeing the situation deteriorating. Hamas, or so we were told, was looking for a way out. Even before the ground operation and even before the escalation in rocket fire which triggered Operation Protective Edge — that was the prevailing assessment. But it was wrong and caused heavy damage to Israel.
The current confrontation started with both sides having a completely different view of it. Israel believed it was embarking on a “round of fighting,” whereas Hamas knew it was entering a war. There’s an abysmal difference between a “round of violence” and war. And that’s the reason Israel is working around the clock to reach a cease-fire. It wants to understand what has happened here. Hamas, on the other hand, continues to carry out its orderly plan, exactly the way it was conceived beforehand. Israel is caught in a “round” whereas Hamas is caught in a war of existence. From Hamas’ perspective, it might even be termed a war of independence.