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The Feet Will Want to Flee

11:21 AM, Jan 16, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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This is cause for optimism:

Two captured terrorists interviewed by Maariv/NRG say that Hamas was not expecting Israel's response to the escalation in missile attacks on Israeli targets that preceded Operation Cast Lead. One of them, a 52-year-old victim of a premature detonation who had already done time in an Israeli jail, said, "Hamas took a gamble. We thought, at worst Israel will come and do something from the air - something superficial. They'll come in and go out. We never thought that we would reach the point where fear will swallow the heart and the feet will want to flee. You [Israel] are fighting like you fought in '48. What got into you all of a sudden?"

Despite the ferocity and effectiveness of the Israeli operation, the Damascus-based leadership of Hamas has rejected an Israeli offer for a cease-fire. It's not clear whether this is more bluster or whether the Hamas leadership inside Gaza is willing to continue the fight, forcing Israeli troops to remain in Gaza. And the UN is urging Israel to accept a unilateral cease-fire -- because nothing says victory like retreating under fire.

Assuming that a cease-fire is agreed upon in the next two or three days -- prior to Obama's swearing in -- one wonders how involved the Obama team has been in negotiations. Were they simply kept abreast of the talks? Have they signed on to the basic framework?