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On the Gaza-Israel border, Israeli reservists weigh a ground assault

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"As in every air operation, there are limitations," said Brig. Gen. Eden Attias, who said the rocket fire was expected. "We didn’t anticipate to wipe out the long- and medium-range rocket fire in a few days. It will require more effort."

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said Saturday that he saw "some indications" of the potential for a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza, though he offered no guarantees. 

Resigned to ground offensive

Many of the Israeli reservists said they were resigned to joining a ground offensive even though they could not articulate a clear goal beyond the government’s purpose of snuffing out rocket fire and hurting Hamas’s strategic assists.

"Nobody likes to go to war," said Guy, reservist, also 36, from Tel Aviv, who left behind a wife and three children. Though the stated purpose of the operation is to "deter" rocket attacks, he said the fighting will end only when "there is peace."

In their late 20s and 30s, most of the reservists are veterans of decade of Israel's major mlitary operations: Gaza in 2009, Lebanon in 2006, and the West Bank in 2002. Their willingness to enlist is seen as a barometer of social solidarity and patriotism, but they have been known to criticize operations gone awry.

"I'm excited, but I'm also shaking,'' said Orel, a 24-year-old combat engineer from the northern Israel town of Nahariya. "I do this out of love for my country.  I have friends in southern Israel and it's not logical that they have to hear sirens all the time.'' 

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