Following the murder of three Israeli teenagers who Israeli officials believe were kidnapped by Hamas operatives while traveling through the West Bank last month, Israel initiated Operation Protective Edge on 8 July, the deadliest military operation to occur in Gaza since 2008-2009 during Operation Cast Lead.

The initiation of this operation is a direct result of escalating tensions between Hamas-controlled Gaza and its surrounding Israeli neighbors, escalations that are driven by accusations from both Hamas and Israel, but primarily attributed to continued and relentless attacks by Hamas against Israel.

According to experts on the issue, Hamas has been struggling to maintain relevancy in the eyes of its passive international supporters since it sided with the Assad regime in 2011, and has since then been fighting increased isolationism as a result of dwindling support from Syria and Iran.  By increasing attacks against Israel, Hamas seeks to create circumstances that would leverage the support of the less-informed members of the international community to cry for international criticism of Israel and support for the Palestinian grievance, which would allow Hamas to maintain its legitimacy and existence.

These circumstances were created for Hamas earlier this month, following the launch of several hundred rockets from Gaza into Israel, as Israeli forces initiated a major ground offensive into Gaza with the stated goal of  crippling Hamas’ ability to launch further attacks against Israel.