Mr. Elran adds Israel has had some significant achievements of its own: significant destruction of Hamas’ weapons caches and the killing of its top military leader while limiting the civilian deaths in Gaza that can erode Israel’s international standing. The IDF says Israel’s Iron Dome missile interceptors have shot down some 100 missiles with an 80 percent success rate, limiting casualties to Israeli civilians.
Until this point, Israel has set a limited goal of punishing Hamas and strengthening its ability to deter future attacks, as opposed to a maximalist target of toppling Hamas. Just like in its 2006 war against Hezbollah and the 2008-2009 war with Hamas, Israel is loathe to topple its foe and permanently reoccupy territory beyond its border.
On top of that, reoccupation could ratchet up domestic pressure on Egypt’s new Islamist government to break ties with Israel and imperil the peace treaty. In a visit to Gaza on Friday, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil declared solidarity with Gaza, saying "we are all behind you, the struggling nation.''
"Returning to a situation of controlling one and a half million Palestinians (in addition to those in the West Bank) would be a severe strategic mistake,’’ wrote Amos Yadlin, a former chief of military intelligence and now the director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).