Posted at: 11/22/2012 8:55 AM
Updated at: 11/22/2012 9:02 AM
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza appears to be holding, and Hamas leaders are declaring victory.
Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says "resistance fighters changed the rules of the game" in the eight-day exchange of fire with Israel and the threat of an Israeli invasion of Gaza "is gone" forever. Haniyeh also urged Gaza fighters to respect the truce "as long as Israel respects it."
The mood in Israel has been mixed. Some were grateful that quiet had been restored without a ground operation that could have cost the lives of soldiers. Others — particular those in southern Israel hit by rockets over the past 13 years — thought the operation was abandoned too quickly.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says while some Israelis "were expecting a harsher response," the offensive's aims of halting Gaza rocket fire and weakening Hamas were achieved. He added that Israel is prepared to act if the cease-fire is violated.
Gaza residents say it's a new start
The rocket fire and air strikes have ended for Israel and residents of the Gaza Strip.
Gaza residents are clearing the rubble and rejoicing at the new cease-fire after the worst cross-border fighting in four years. Now, the Israelis and Gaza's Hamas rulers are to negotiate a deal that would open borders of the blockaded Palestinian territory.
One Gaza City resident says, "Today is different, the morning coffee tastes different and I feel we are off to a new start."
Egypt Brotherhood leader blasts peace with Israel
The leader and top cleric of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has denounced peace efforts with Israel, urging holy war to liberate Palestinian territories.
Mohammed Badei's call Thursday comes just a day after Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who also hails from the Brotherhood, succeeded in brokering a truce to end eight days of Israel-Hamas fighting.
Under the deal, Gaza's ruling Hamas is to stop rocket fire into Israel while Israel is to cease airstrikes and allow the opening of the strip's long-blockaded borders.
Badei says "jihad is obligatory" for Muslims and that peace deals with Israel are a "game of grand deception." He says there's been enough negotiations, the "enemy knows nothing but language of force."
The Brotherhood and its members don't recognize Israel and refuse to hold direct talks with Israelis.
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