The trap of the Israel/Palestine conflict is that neither side has a good idea of what it hopes to acheive, beside some vague sense of intimidating the other side into concession.
Yeah, we tried that. It didn't work. Innocent people are paying the price and have paid the price on all sides for decades now, and for what? Whatever side you feel has been wronged most, the real problem here is not that one side is more evil than the other, it's that no side is wiser or more practical than the other.
This long stalemate of a quagmire has been a disaster for all sides.
The terrorist actions and military aggression of the Palestinians has justified, in the eyes of their oppressors, an increasingly hermetic seal on the destinies and the territories they live within, leaving people in the terrorism-shaken west in an uncomfortable situation trying to be sympathetic to their inhumane plight.
Israel doesn't do itself any favors. It's actions have justified an equally isolating kind of constriction around itself by the Arab nations which are its only neighbors. It's actions put it on shaky footing in international law, and make it difficult for those in the west to wholeheartedly support them. Their methods, though advertised as strong and scrappy, have become a self-inflicted wound to the country's security, allowing pressures to build, and peace with its neighbors and within its borders to become an increasingly more distant dream. What have their last two wars within the Palestinian Territories achieved?
The danger in justifying war by what the other side does is that such a reactionary approach makes inevitable decisions that have no purpose beyond that reaction. It clouds the mind, stifles the truly creative approaches towards acheiving strategic success. Each sides actions have served no purpose beyond escalation, and all the bloody consequences of that escalation have worn down both sides ability to think straight. It's a vicious cycle of progressively increased mindless violence.
Security is not preventing attacks, ultimately. The truly committed will find ways to draw blood. True security is the discouragement of committed attackers. Make it too complex. Make it to where these people are on their own. Make it to where folks don't want to upset the balances, delicate or otherwise.
Look at Iraq: did we succeed by brute force? No, and we could not. To the extent violence has been prevented, and our soldiers lives have been saved, it is because we helped create a situation around the bad situation we were in that undermined the willingness of the other side to attack us and attack each other.
Iraq is not perfect, and its successes might be temporary, perhaps even counterproductive in the long term. But the alternative was far worse, in no uncertain terms, because it depended on the notion that people can be intimidated in their homelands out of maintaining an insurrection.
How many idiots out there have made this faulty assumption? How many fools who should know better?
If you fight to defeat an enemy or acheive an objective, you must have some understanding of what constitutes the defeat of that enemy, the success of that objective. You can redefine it post hoc, but that's typically what you do if you're trying to weasel your way out of a bad war in a way that saves face. So lets ask the question here: what will constitute the true defeat of Hamas, or the true success of Israel's strategic goals of security?
If we don't have a good pathway towards our answers to those questions, then it won't matter what each side intends; the only thing they will gain through the future years of this fight is greater depths of bad blood and mutual misery.