The outcome of the military campaign, which is still in its early stages, will help observers decide whether the operation was a wise move on Israel's part. The outcome of negotiations leading to the conclusion of the campaign—the terms under which a renewed cease-fire will be achieved—will also determine whether the Gaza war was successful. But most of all, it is the expectations of all parties involved that will dictate how this round of violence will be perceived by Israelis, Palestinians, and the rest of the world. Anyone who expects this to be the last round is delusional. Anyone who hopes that the days of Hamas rule in Gaza are numbered is unrealistic. Only those who think Hamas will learn a lesson that might make it less likely to permit the shelling of Israeli citizens—while maintaining its power and its ability to cause trouble whenever it chooses—might be right. Time will tell.
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