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Israel still looking for a victory in Gaza

Hamas has turned the tables on Israel by approaching the latest conflict as a war for its very existence.
An Israeli soldier stands atop an armoured vehicle at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip July 31, 2014. Israel pressed ahead with its Gaza offensive saying it was days from achieving its core goal of destroying all Islamist guerrilla cross-border attack tunnels, but a soaring Palestinian civilian toll has triggered international alarm. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (ISRAEL - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR40QWU
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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.

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