The 2014 Israel-Hamas War: A Preliminary Net Assessment

National Interest - September 8, 2014

Shai Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center.

On August 26, after more than fifty days of fighting, the latest phase of the Israel-Hamas War ended with an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire. It will be months, if not years, before the ramifications of the 2014 war will become clear and fully apparent. At this early point, just over a week after the ceasefire was announced, any assessment of the violence must be considered tentative at best. The following are a number of early reflections on this recent explosion of Palestinian-Israeli violence:

First, as reflected in the ceasefire agreement, neither Israel, nor Hamas has gained anything significant from the violence. Hamas may have gained a modest expansion of fishing rights for Gazans and may gain some improvement in the ease of movement and access of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. Israel may eventually gain some tightening of the constraints on the smuggling of weapons and ammunition into the Strip. None of these constitute strategic gains.

Hamas did not gain any significant change in Gaza’s isolation—neither its demands for building a seaport, nor for the rebuilding of the airport were accepted. Similarly, there is little hope that Israel’s wish to see the Gaza Strip demilitarized will ever materialize. Talk of a grand bargain in the framework of which Hamas will agree to disarm in exchange for massive reconstruction of the Gaza Strip will most likely remain just that—talk. ... Read the Full Text