One of the challenges with that struggle is that they don't typically declare wars. It just escalates and explodes in military action. On one side you have Hamas launching home-made rockets, basically a bunch of angry kids throwing sticks over a fence with little accuracy. For the most part, they don't do any damage or hurt anyone. Then the decision is made by the IDF to "pound" Gaza, with jets, bombs, artillery, tanks, and naval salvos. Not to mention high tech drones with missile capability. Talk about David and Goliath in reverse! But this time Goliath has Arrow missile defense, Iron Dome, etc. The consequences to Gaza are overwhelming casualties, nearly all civilians, including hundreds of women and children. I can't recall ever seeing a war declared in the Knesset, they simply coin an "Operation" and go to town. Netanyahu has to get the blessing of some cabinet members to move forward probably.
The key point is "measured response". Each of the conflicts ends with very little damage to Israeli infrastructure and few causalities, compared to part of Gaza being 'leveled' and casualties in the thousands. Gaza is already under a crippling blockade by Israel. That's part of what causes the violence to continue. That, and the response goes way beyond "defense", it becomes revenge and collective punishment. I guess the attitude is that if you hit them really hard and make them suffer tremendously that will prevent them from acting again in the future. But it's obvious to see the anger and hatred that it fuels. The casualties are always at least 10:1, and even 20:1 and higher. The imbalance is obvious and clear, and unconscionable.
There are always attempts to send international humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts, but these are hampered by the blockade. To be fair, some of the concrete going into Gaza to rebuild homes is siphoned off for Hamas to build more tunnels, which then cuts down what is allowed to get through. It's a chicken/egg cycle in numerous ways, which is what makes it so hard to solve. But yet that's the reason it needs to be solved; stop the cycle of violence. Each side is literally preparing for the next conflict, which based on the behavior of both, seems inevitable.
Each conflict has ended in a truce or cease-fire IIRC. The fact that there isn't really a declared war also means that surrender doesn't come into play. Surrender implies occupation, and for all practical purposes Gaza is already under occupation (blockade, surveillance). Israel used to occupy Gaza and chose to leave. They don't want it back.
As to the rights to the land, that's probably a whole other debate for another thread and another time. Suffice it to say that you seem well versed on the topic, so surely you know the history that Israel's War of Independence - the Nakba (catastrophe) to the Palestinians - caused over 700,000 Palestinian refugees amidst the "depopulation" of 536 Palestinian villages by Israel. The Palestinian view is that they want their land back. But if Israel were to agree to "right of return" (under U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194), it would mean that the state of Israel would no longer have a Jewish majority, which basically destroys the Zionist dream.
If it goes into the Bible interpretation of land ownership, well, that's the religion and politics part.
If Israel were to wipe the Palestinians off the map, they would have to face the condemnation of world opinion. They already face a lot of condemnation for their acts and policies (see numerous U.N. resolutions), but there's a fine line, a delicate balance that is walked where the propaganda and justification tries to paint the picture of reason and sanity. Many of the military decisions made in conflict take this into consideration.