[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/19/gaza.pullout.israel/art.gazatanks.afp.gi.jpg caption="Israeli tanks prepare to leave Gaza on Monday."]
CNN International Correspondent
Amongst the devastation in Gaza and horrific pictures of dead bodies being pulled from destroyed buildings, the argument of "who won the war" has already begun.
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insists his country’s military objective was achieved and more. Israeli soldiers are filmed leaving the Gaza strip smiling and giving the victory sign. The Israeli casualty figure was lower than feared and public support was strong throughout.
No Palestinian civilian in Gaza won anything. Even if they survived, their loved ones survived and their house is intact, they have been through 22 days of absolute hell.
But Hamas claimed victory on behalf of the Palsetinian people. Former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says "this is not a victory for one faction, party or region. It is a victory for all the nation. The whole nation contributed..."
Hamas' military wing went one step further, claiming fewer than 50 of its fighters were killed... hundreds less than Israel claims. And militants fired around twenty rockets into Israel after the Jewish state's ceasefire came into effect Sunday morning, just to prove they still could.
Israel has claimed a victory in securing an agreement with the United States, a memorandum of understanding to prevent future smuggling of arms to Hamas and Israel's military believes it has destroyed the majority of smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.
But the bar of success was low for Israel this time around following a perceived failed war against Hezbollah in Lebanon two and a half years ago. The official view, shared by many on the streets of Israel, is the power of deterrence has been restored.
Ari Shavit, Haaretz newspaper journalist believes there is another winner, "In the war between Israel and Hamas the winner is Egypt, the real winners in this war are the arab moderates." He says, " The Middle East is no longer about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as such... there is a greater conflict now between the moderates and the extremists."
Only a part of wars today are fought on the battlefield, or in this case in the crowded streets of Gaza, the rest is won or lost on television screens and through public perception. The vast majority of Israelis see this as a military success, but public approval of Israel's operation – even among its strongest allies – could be undermined by a disturbingly high Palestinian civilian death toll and misery inflicted on a far wider target than Hamas.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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