What Has This Gaza War Changed?

When the current conflict between Israel and Hamas began, it looked much like a resumption of the conflict that has led to similarly tragic consequences in recent years. Israel was poised to set back Hamas's war-making ability by a few years, leading the Israeli government to gain support domestically. As in recent similar conflicts, it was expected that too many civilians would be killed in Gaza, thus strengthening the anti-Israel narrative within Gaza, and globally, bolstering Hamas's wavering popularity. After roughly a month of this war, it is clear that these things have occurred, but other the war has also led to changes in the broader conflict that may not be immediately apparent but that are significant for both sides, as well as for those who would like to see this conflict end.

Israel and Hamas are Both Winning and Both Losing in Gaza

The war in Gaza is characterized by two sides that, for reasons of domestic and external politics, define victory very differently. Israel employs a reasonably conventional military notion of victory, measuring their success in by their ability to keep their own people safe and destroy Hamas's ability to make war on them. Hamas, for its, part defines victory largely by driving up hatred for Israel both inside and outside of Gaza. These two visions are not only different, but exist on largely different planes, making it possible for both sides to simultaneously view themselves as winning this conflict based on their own criteria.