''Hope lost and fear won,'' said Udi Segal, the diplomatic correspondent for Israel's Channel 2 News. Referring to Secretary of State John Kerry's nine-month negotiations whose collapse in April contributed to the escalation, Mr. Segal added, ''I don't think the people in Palestine or in Israel feel more confidence in those Western, American Kerry-like ambitions to solve our problem with those peace slogans.''
Read MoreGaza cease-fire begins between Israel, Palestinian groups
Sami Abdel Shafi, a Gaza-based political consultant, said, ''A very thin line separates between this being taken as an opportunity versus this latest round resulting in further disaster.''
He continued: ''It has just been demonstrated that military conflict will not present solutions. The only trouble is it doesn't look like at least the present government of Israel is interested in a political solution.''
After a cease-fire agreement this week finally appeared to halt the hostilities, leaders on both sides rushed to claim victory, pointing to their specific battlefield achievements and the other's weaknesses.
But Hamas, the militant Islamist group that dominates Gaza, stood down without winning the concessions it repeatedly said it would require to halt the fighting. Many Israelis complain that their campaign lacked clear, ambitious goals, and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged in a television interview Friday that there was ''not a certainty but a chance for us to have an extended period of quiet.''
Read More Gaza truce collapses, Israel orders negotiators home
In terms of the big picture, long-term aspirations of people on both sides of the fences that divide the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, analysts see a bleaker terrain than before this latest battle began.
The vast majority of Israeli Jews want, most of all, to feel safe, physically, and to secure the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy. Polls and interviews in recent days suggest most now feel more vulnerable.
The repeated attacks through tunnels from Gaza raised the specter of similar underground operations on other borders. Hamas rockets reached all over Israel, and there is no protection from the mortar shells that killed two men and a 4-year-old boy in the war's final chapter. (On Friday, an off-duty soldier injured in a rocket attack a week before died, bringing the toll on the Israeli side to 71 -- 64 of them soldiers killed in action.)
Israel did deal a harsh blow to Hamas, killing several of its top commanders, destroying dozens of tunnels and hundreds of rocket launchers. Some commentators have noted that the 2006 Lebanon war was widely deemed a failure at the time, but that Hezbollah, Hamas's counterpoint to Israel's north, has not attacked since.