While Hamas managed to surprise Israel with its ability to launch large numbers of rockets in a short span of time, and by its success in mobilizing unrest among Israel’s Arab citizens, the IDF efficiently eliminated many such capabilities in the eleven days of fighting. Haviv Rettig Gur notes some examples:
A crack [Hamas] naval commando force equipped with miniature submarines failed to produce a single significant attack and saw much of its infrastructure and equipment blown up from the air. The fast-moving anti-tank missile crews tasked with photogenically destroying Israeli military vehicles were identified and destroyed so quickly in the early days of the fighting that Hamas ordered them withdrawn from the battlefield. . . . And a sprawling underground tunnel and bunker system dubbed “the Metro” that offered Hamas fighters the ability to maneuver quickly across the urban battlefields of Gaza without exposing themselves to Israeli airstrikes only ended up providing Israel with cleaner military targets.
Nevertheless, Hamas leaders have declared “victory”—and not irrationally, Gur explains. After all, the terrorist group sees the past two weeks as just one battle in a long-running war to break Israeli morale so that, in the end, the Jews will leave. In this regard, Hamas would do well to heed a conversation that took place between two retired Israeli generals and Vo Nguyen Giap, the architect of the Vietnamese Communists’ victories over the Japanese, French, and Americans:
When the Israelis rose to leave, Giap suddenly turned to the Palestinian issue. “Listen,” he said, “the Palestinians are always coming here and saying to me, ‘You expelled the French and the Americans. How do we expel the Jews?’”
The generals were intrigued. “And what do you tell them?”
“I tell them,” Giap replied, “that the French went back to France and the Americans to America. But the Jews have nowhere to go. You will not expel them.”
The Palestinians have two basic strategies: relentless anti-colonial-style violence on the one hand and international diplomatic and economic pressure on Israel on the other. It has not yet dawned on Palestinians, nor on the foreign supporters eager to carry their banner, that the two strategies cancel each other out, that Hamas is constantly clarifying to Israelis the dire consequences of their acquiescence to international demands.