After these two significant factors--which both existed beforehand--it’s all downhill for Hamas. Given the destruction of its weaponry, Hamas is less able to attack than it had been and while every Hamas leader denies it, the vision of their colleagues getting killed does have a deterrent effect on their boldness.
It was these factors that led Fareed Zaharia, the influential American commentator—no friend of Israel—who has Obama’s ear to write a Washington Post piece entitled, "Israel dominates the new Middle East."
This inability to obtain total victory is characteristic of Israel's strategic situation for reasons totally extraneous to Israel and which virtually everyone in the country understands, though many foreign observers don't. Israel's big victories in the 1967 and 1973 war did not end the conflict or stop attempts by terrorists to attack into the country. The goal is to discourage them and make it harder for them to succeed.
As a result, Israelis can go about their lives and the country can prosper. Sixty-four years of effort have devastated Israels enemies but brought them not one step closer to wiping it off the map.
Israel's goal, then, is also to deter even the most hostile, hate-filled Egyptian Islamist regime from going too far in trying to implement the Muslim Brotherhood's genocide program. Its cheering Hamas is not the problem. The issue is how much it will help Hamas and, even more important, whether it will some day fight alongside it. Has this deterrence been increased by the recent war?
Apparently, yes, and that is a very important outcome. Israel has reminded Egypt of its own power; Hamas has showed its Egyptian sponsor that it was not a good team player. Perhaps the better way to put it is that Israel won the battle but the war goes on, as indeed it has for our entire lifetimes.
Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center http://www.gloria-center.org
The Rubin Report blog http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/
He is a featured columnist at PJM http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/.
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal http://www.gloria-center.org