Atlantic Council Ambassador-in-Residence Michael Oren today expressed deep concern about Hamas’ strong media strategy in its “war of attrition” against Israel in Gaza. There is “no end in sight” to the conflict, he told an Atlantic Council conference call moderated by the Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon.

“In Israel, we’ve come up with some very ingenious responses to the threat,” such as the Iron Dome missile system, which has intercepted hundreds of Hamas rockets fired into Israel, said Ambassador Oren, the former top Israeli envoy to the United States. “But right now we do not have a diplomatic and media Iron Dome that can protect us against the Hamas media strategy,” he told journalists and Atlantic Council members who joined the call.

As a result, Israel risks losing the “European street,” Ambassador Oren said, as public opinion in Europe increasingly is inclined to blame Israel, more than Hamas, for the horrifying suffering of Gaza’s civilians. The two sides are currently observing a 72-hour ceasefire, but Ambassador Oren maintains that the Israeli government’s determination to defeat Hamas militarily remains unchanged.

A noted historian on the Middle East, Ambassador Oren contrasted Hamas’ strategy with those of Palestinian militants in previous chapters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Terror between 1972, say, and 2005 was designed to break Israel’s morale, get people to leave the country,” he said. “Terror now has a different purpose: to get Israel to respond forcefully, create civilian casualties, and generate de-legitimization around the world. It’s a different strategy and it’s very effective.”

Ambassador Oren also touched upon what an endgame in Gaza might look like. He admitted there are “no good options here,” but the best outcome for Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and the Arab Gulf states would be a “Hamas that is very much weakened, but not to the degree that it can be replaced by even more dangerous entities like Islamic jihadists backed by Iran,” he said. “At the end of the day, to whom do you give the keys? No one has a definitive answer to that.”

He concluded that Israel’s ultimate goal should be to demilitarize Hamas, not necessarily uproot it.