According to the Israeli military, since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, Israel had launched more than 5,000 airstrikes in Gaza, while fighters in Gaza had fired close to 4,000 rockets and mortars into Israel by August 23, 2014. Something changed on that date.
Israel destroyed one of the largest buildings in Gaza, a 12-story apartment building in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City. This might be considered the 9/11 moment of the war. Within seconds, 44 apartments were destroyed, 44 families were made homeless. Israel claimed that Hamas used an apartment in the building as a base of operations, but a resident of the building denied that claim and said the Israelis were lying.
Although the IDF had targeted specific apartments within buildings before, this was the first time the IDF destroyed an entire building. It appeared that Israel was putting pressure on the elites in Gaza to end the battle which had raged for 48 days.
On that same day, Hamas signed a pledge to back any Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court which could expose Israel, as well as Hamas, to possible war crimes prosecution.
If the Palestinian resistance fighters could have brought down a multi-story building in Tel Aviv, I have no doubt they would have. The IDF’s attack on this apartment building in the middle of Gaza City highlighted once again the asymmetric nature of last summer’s battle.