Ha'aretz reports that government officials in Jerusalem fear that Hamas is doggedly holding on in the Gaza Strip in the hopes that US President-elect Barack Obama will be far more sympathetic to its goals.
Despite taking a tremendous beating at the hands of the Israeli army, Hamas has been stalling ceasefire efforts by vaguely turning down various proposals.
Israeli officials say Hamas likely believes that Obama will be receptive of its truce demands where the Bush Administration wasn't, and would therefore prefer to extend the war until after the January 20 US presidential inauguration.
Meanwhile, incoming US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that, despite reports to the contrary, neither she nor Obama will be holding talks with Hamas anytime soon.
"You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements," said Clinton.