The Shalit prisoner exchange deal and last year’s war against Israel led to a spike in the popularity of Hamas, which also enjoyed the support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army plunged Hamas into one of its most difficult periods in recent years, while the Palestinian Authority is credited with the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. However, it is too soon to count Hamas out.
The Islamist group is building its strength in preparation for future conflicts with Israel. Its goal is to keep these wars as short as possible. Hamas’ military build-up includes amassing M-75 rockets, which have a range of 70 kilometers (43 miles) and can reach the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area. It is safe to assume that as opposed to last year’s conflict with Israel, during the next war the firing of medium-range rockets from Gaza will not be sporadic.
The next war between Israel and Hamas will be different. The Islamist group currently has only a number of M-75 rockets in its possession, but production is continuing at a fast pace. Hamas also has hundreds of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.