Hamas cries victory; truce with Israel holds

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 (IHS'-may-el hah-NEE'-yuh) 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.

%@AP Links

159-c-13-(Aron Heller, AP correspondent)-"on the sidewalks"-AP correspondent Aron Heller reports on an Israeli town that's trying to get back into its regular routine. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *159 (11/22/12)>> 00:13 "on the sidewalks"

160-c-09-(Aron Heller, AP correspondent)-"long run there"-AP correspondent Aron Heller reports some residents of border towns in Israel are not pleased with the way the fighting stopped. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *160 (11/22/12)>> 00:09 "long run there"

158-c-18-(Aron Heller, AP correspondent)-"that haven't lasted"-AP correspondent Aron Heller reports many Israelis are worried that the cease-fire won't hold. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *158 (11/22/12)>> 00:18 "that haven't lasted"

161-c-17-(Aron Heller, AP correspondent)-"fighting with Gaza"-AP correspondent Aron Heller reports Israelis are trying to get back to their regular routines now that a cease-fire has been declared. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *161 (11/22/12)>> 00:17 "fighting with Gaza"

150-c-14-(Karen Laub, AP correspondent)-"four years ago"-AP correspondent Karen Laub reports Hamas is declaring victory after the cease-fire with Israel. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *150 (11/22/12)>> 00:14 "four years ago"

149-c-17-(Karen Laub, AP correspondent)-"by Israeli airstrikes"-AP correspondent Karen Laub reports there's a mixture of defiance and pride in Gaza City. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *149 (11/22/12)>> 00:17 "by Israeli airstrikes"

151-c-09-(Karen Laub, AP correspondent)-"and weakening Hamas"-AP correspondent Karen Laub reports Israeli leaders don't feel defeated by the cease-fire. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *151 (11/22/12)>> 00:09 "and weakening Hamas"

148-c-11-(Karen Laub, AP correspondent)-"picking up garbage"-AP correspondent Karen Laub reports residents of Gaza City are trying to get back to normal. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *148 (11/22/12)>> 00:11 "picking up garbage"

157-a-10-(Beni Vaknin (VAHK'-nihn), mayor of the southern Israel city of Ashkelon, near Gaza, in AP interview)-"that we hope"-Ashkelon Mayor Beni Vaknin says many of his constituents do not believe the truce will hold. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *157 (11/22/12)>> 00:10 "that we hope"

152-a-08-(Tikva Meroz Aharoni, resident of Ashkelon, in southern Israel near Gaza, in AP interview)-"suspicion as well"-Tikva Meroz-Aharoni lives in the southern Israel city of Ashkelon, near Gaza. She says today is so much better than yesterday. (22 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *152 (11/22/12)>> 00:08 "suspicion as well"

154-r-10-(Sound of children and parents talking and laughing, outside of a school where parents are dropping their kids off)--Sound of children talking and laughing outside an Israeli school as their parents dropped them off -- a sign of life returning to normal. (22 Nov 2012)

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153-r-06-(Sound of bulldozer, from video showing work to bring down a tree in the midst of rubble)--Sound of a bulldozer bringing down a tree as part of the operation to clean up building rubble from the shelling. (22 Nov 2012)

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GRAPHICSBANK: Israeli soldier and Hamas militant (l-r), drawing on flag texture, with white and red banners, with lettering ISRAELI -PALESTINIAN CEASE-FIRE, finished graphic (22 Nov 2012)

APPHOTO JRL122: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, attends a meeting with the head of the Israel Police, Major General Yohanan Danino, second right, during his visit to the national police headquarters in Jerusalem, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Gali Tibbon, Pool) (22 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO JRL122 (11/22/12)>>

APPHOTO JRL112: Palestinians celebrate the Israel-Hamas cease-fire in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Gaza residents cleared rubble and claimed victory on Thursday, just hours after an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers ended the worst cross-border fighting in four years. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) (22 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO JRL112 (11/22/12)>>

APPHOTO AXLP129: Israeli soldiers work atop their tanks at a staging area near the Israel Gaza Strip Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. A cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers took effect Wednesday night, bringing an end to eight days of the fiercest fighting in years and possibly signaling a new era of relations between the bitter enemies. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) (22 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO AXLP129 (11/22/12)>>

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