For Hamas, the goal is not a military victory but a diplomatic one. It is testing its growing alliance with the new Islamist leadership of Egypt and the new Muslim powers who have emerged after the Arab Spring.
Today, under Israeli attack, its most vocal support is not from Iran, Syria and Hezbollah - the so called Axis of Resistance, but from regional emergers like Qatar, Turkey & Egypt.
Getting into a fight with Israel will also demonstrate the Hamas leadership's strength compared with a weak and crisis-laden Palestinian Authority.
But Israel, heading into presidential elections early next year, has its domestic compulsions. Hamas's inability to control rocket attacks from Gaza by other more militant factions made it necessary for Israel to respond militarily.