Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff of Ha’aretz deliver their post-mortem on the Gaza war: The Israeli left was furious about the killing of Palestinian civilians and the widespread destruction across Gaza; the right was angry at the government for not letting the army win.
It was almost inevitable that most Israelis would be left with a somewhat sour feeling at the end of the war in Gaza. The left was furious about the killing of Palestinian civilians and the widespread destruction wrought across Gaza; the right was angry at the security cabinet for not letting the Israel Defense Forces win. The soldiers in the field were sorry that the operation ended without the return of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. And the media quickly moved to cover the inauguration of Barack Obama. By midweek, the Gaza campaign had already been relegated to the back pages of the papers.
No few myths that had been cultivated – in these pages, too – were proved false by the operation. The ground operation did not exact large-scale Israeli casualties, the rocket fire was considerably reduced due to the presence of IDF troops in Gaza, and the army withdrew without an organized "exit plan." On the other hand, the prewar assumption that it would be difficult to achieve a clear-cut victory in a confrontation with Hamas was proven correct. Far from raising a white flag, Hamas hurried to mark the IDF’s departure with victory processions.
The public’s partial disappointment stems from the disparity between the expectations that developed against the backdrop of the relatively smooth entry of the ground forces, and the difficulty of translating the fighting into an arrangement that would vanquish Hamas.