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But militants have fired more than 800 rockets at Israel at a rate that hasn’t slowed down.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the military estimated 20 percent of the rockets in Gaza have either been fired or destroyed by Israel. Besides diminishing Hamas‘ future capabilities, he said Israel’s assaults were mostly aimed at convincing Hamas never to try it again.

“When they come out of their bunkers and they look around, they are going to have to make a serious estimation of whether what they have done was worth it,” he said. “And people will look in their eyes and say ‘Why did you do this? What did you gain from this?’”

Moussa Abu Marzouk, the No. 2 leader of Hamas, defiantly rejected the notion, saying the current round of fighting would only strengthen his movement’s resolve.

“They (the Israelis) are doing all of that (the airstrikes) to force us to raise the white flag,” he wrote on his Facebook page Sunday. “The future is ours and if there is a truce it’s going to be a temporary one. This is not the last battle.”

Fathi Sabbah, a Gaza-based writer for the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, said Hamas‘ popularity on the Palestinian street had actually grown during the operation and he did not foresee it putting down its arms. “This is just a round, like the previous ones, and there’ll be more to come in the future as long as no political solution is found to the Palestinian cause,” he said.

Writing in the Yediot Ahronot daily, commentator Yossi Yehoshua argued that any cease-fire that does not guarantee a complete demilitarization of Gaza would be a failure for Israel since it would then invariably “find itself in the next round within a very short period of time.”

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Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed to this report from Ramallah, West Bank.