Here’s an excellent article from MEMRI.
The current Gaza conflict, which broke out following a deliberate escalation by Hamas when it fired dozens of rockets into Israeli cities over a wide radius (including Beersheba, Rehovot, and Ashdod and later Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa) raises questions about the reasons for this rocket offensive by Hamas. Why is it that, on July 7, 2014, Hamas broadened the scope of the battle beyond the exchanges of fire with Israel that had occurred previously, and fired rockets deeper into Israel than it had since Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012?
Apparently, Hamas’ decision to launch a rocket offensive against Israel was made on the local level by Hamas’ military arm, the ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, perhaps without consulting with the movement’s political wing either within or outside the Gaza Strip – and this for local and immediate reasons to be detailed below, alongside additional motives linked to the deteriorating status of the movement in the internal Palestinian arena as well as in the inter-Arab arena.
1. The Immediate Motive For Hamas’ Rocket Offensive: Israel’s Discovery And Targeting Of A Strategic Hamas Project
On July 5, two days before Hamas fired its first heavy barrage of rockets into Israel, Israel struck one of Hamas’ dozens of long tunnels leading out of the Gaza Strip into Israel. The tunnel was one of several that were built in recent years as a strategic project to surprise Israel in future conflicts, enabling Hamas to move armed activists deep into Israel to carry out terror attacks in densely populated areas.
The discovery and destruction of this tunnel and the strategic planning behind it (in addition to the deaths of activists from its military arm inside the tunnel) apparently pushed the military arm into responding with a wide-scale rocket barrage, including long-range rockets, aimed at striking areas across and deep inside Israel, and thus provoking a wide-scale Israeli reaction.
Full article at MEMRI.