Hamas wasn't defeated, but it suffered a significantly military blow, Israel's former national security advisor, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland told Ynet on Tuesday morning.
At the same time, Eiland criticized the fact Israel gives Gaza electricity, water and other goods, while at the same time allowing Hamas to continue fire rockets at the Israeli south.
"Hamas is the authentic voice for the people of Gaza. They built a strong army, in fact they're a kind of a state onto themselves," he said. "The fact Israel, for years, allowed this state to fire rockets and mortars at it, and we continue giving them food is absurd. The fact the residents of Kerem Shalom have been abandoned, and 300 meters away at the border crossing food is being allowed into Gaza is a big mistake."
Science, Culture and Sport Minister, and former head of the Shin Bet Yaakov Peri was of the same mind as Eiland, saying Hamas and Islamic Jihad's acceptance of the Egyptian ceasefire initiative "shows their distress, we've hit them hard."
Peri asserted the operation has not ended yet. "I don't think we need to speak in terms of victory, we have to say we've achieved our objectives. The destruction of 32 tunnels is an unusual achievement," he said.
"Our estimate is that we've hit about one third of the rocket infrastructure," Peri said, noting that the heavy barrage fired at Israel shortly before 8am "could signal that they mean to honor the truce."
Like Eiland, Peri called for disarmament in return for the recovery of Gaza. "We have to dismantle Hamas from its rocket firing capabilities as much as possible.
"I don't see the blockade being lifted, unless Egypt opens the Rafah border crossing and it functions under Abbas' supervision," he said, stressing Israel will lift the blockade "only after disarming their rocket firing capabilities and their tunneling abilities."