Since seizing power in a violent coup in Gaza in 2007, Hamas has fought four major armed conflicts with Israel and many smaller ones. The frequency of these conflicts and the amount of time it took for Israeli deterrence to erode between the rounds of fighting indicate consistent challenges to Israel’s attempts to contain Hamas in Gaza and keep the Gazan arena relatively stable.
This stands in stark contrast to the Lebanese arena, which has remained largely stable since the 2006 Second Lebanon War (though it presents its own growing challenges to long-term containment approaches).
There is no alternative ruling regime in sight for Gaza, and the Israeli defense establishment views any notion of a near-term Palestinian Authority ruling presence in the Strip as unrealistic.
Israel is determined not to return to ruling over some 2 million hostile Gazans and being responsible for their daily needs, so containing Hamas without toppling it has been Israel’s default approach since 2007. This was also true of the 11-day conflict that erupted in May,…