Palestinians inspect destroyed tunnels after an Israeli airstrike hit the area of the Gaza-Egypt frontier in the southern Gaza Strip, 31 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)
The air campaign is paring down Hamas's ability to function effectively as the ruler of Gaza. It is undermining Hamas's political power bases. The lesson is not that Hamas can be destroyed militarily but that it that can be weakened domestically. Israel apparently hopes to persuade the Hamas leadership, as it did Arafat for a while, that its best interests are served by cooperating with Israel. The message is: forget about your popular mandate to resist the occupation and concentrate instead on remaining in power with our help.