As I write this, the first 72-hour truce has just ended. So for the weary combatants and affected civilians, the death and destruction have resumed.
Here is my scorecard to date.
-1 for Hamas. Hamas has shown it is true to its roots. It wants the Zionist occupation to end. And for Hamas, the Zionist occupation spans from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Don't listen to the nonsense that Hamas was "backed into a corner and had no way out" except by firing rockets and terrorizing Israelis with tunnels into their communities. If Hamas wanted any type of peaceful, negotiated lifting of the blockade, it could have been accomplished with one phone call. Hamas has shown that it falls into the same camp as Hezbollah, ISIS, the Haqqani network and the Taliban, who are not interested in talking. They want severed heads. Resistance is their life blood.
0 for Hamas. While the European capitals were aflame with anti-Israel protests -- which sometimes turned into blatant anti-Semitic violence -- Islamic capitals have been relatively quiet. Even the Iranians have not been as fiery in their opposition to the bombing of Gaza as one might have expected. And the Arab street is simply too bogged down in its own crises to form any sort of potent movement against Israel. This was the "quiet" Israelis got, not the "quiet" from Gaza they wanted. Still, this quiet has been a severe blow to Hamas. The only real support they got was from the borderline personality of Recep Erdogan, but no one except his downtrodden base takes him seriously anyway.
-1 for Hamas. In a while it may dawn on the average Gazan that they are led by madmen. Just as the average German dimly understood after Dresden that perhaps something was wrong, so too will the carnage and destruction lead to the questioning of the Hamas leadership. To subject a civilian population full of infants and children to so much injury and death cannot go unnoticed. Naturally, when a Western journalist asks a Gazan about this, the rote recitation of "resistance and occupation, Zionists and enemy" will flow from their lips. Saying anything else could get them killed, but no human being can bury his child, brother or wife and not ask why they died. A breaking point may be reached when a majority of Gazans realize that they perhaps died for Iran's or Qatar's policy objectives and not for the freedom of the Palestinian people.
0 for Israel. They did not know this? They thought another "mowing the grass" operation was all that was required? Israeli intelligence failed to see the cleverly situated missile launchers and the reinforced tunnel networks built with audacity and children's sweat and blood. While the genius tech inventors in the universities and beyond are bringing Mobileye public on Nasdaq, no one could detect the sandy earth pouring forth out of the tunnels and the massive pour of concrete going in? WhatsApp is a great texting tool (invented in Israel), but knowing what was underneath Gaza would have saved more lives. The shock and awe Hamas created when its soldiers exited their tunnels in Israel was a game changer.
-1 for Israel. The European reaction was not understood by Israel in its proper context. The average European is now a pacifist. They are uncomfortable with aggression. To them, the Gaza war, based on the unequal death toll, is a war of aggression. The only war Christian Europe is comfortable with is the 17-century-long one against its Jews. As so brilliantly written in James Carroll's Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History, Christian Europe can never be happy with uppity Jews armed to the teeth with jets, tanks and big bombs. They are simply outraged that their long-suffering punching bags could possibly fight back. This helps to understand the "Hitler did not finish the job" cry of the far-right parties. The Israel the Europeans knew, founded by those who dragged themselves out of the gas chambers, is no more. It is now a strong country that boasts one of the most powerful militaries in the world. Perhaps the Europeans thought the Israeli mantra "never again" was just a slogan, not a real, live policy. The Christian and Muslim Europeans currently singing to the same tune may be an odd couple, but one to whom Israel needs to do a far better job of explaining itself.
0 for Israel. It is impossible to understand how the air war was conducted so poorly. The lack of real precision weapons weakens the belief that Israel is so smart. Throughout much of the world, there has been a sustained sense that Israel is composed of intelligent people who employ the latest and best technology. Looking at the destruction of Gaza and the 155mm shells flying out of Israeli tank barrels, it's impossible to reconcile the two. Israel did not prepare the world and perhaps itself for the nasty fact that war really has not gone that high-tech. It is possible that too many video games have sensitized the world into thinking that death and destruction are bloodless. I think the world expected something more from Israel than Syrian-style carnage. With the thought that Israel cannot do better comes the thought that perhaps this level of destruction was intentional -- in other words. that Israel wanted to inflict this level of destruction and death on Gaza for political reasons. This is where the worldwide "disproportionality" outcry comes from. Again, Israel did not send a very clear message as to why the war necessitated the resulting civilian deaths and injuries.
In the coming weeks and months the themes raised above will no doubt be pondered in detail. This is yet another tragic time for humanity on the shores of the Mediterranean. Add it up and Hamas comes out a little worse, as do its people.