George? Thank you, Martha. We're joined by Steve ganyard. Former fighter pilot, Pentagon official. And Aaron David miller, of the Woodrow Wilson center. Spent most of his career negotiate negotiating.... See More
George? Thank you, Martha. We're joined by Steve ganyard. Former fighter pilot, Pentagon official. And Aaron David miller, of the Woodrow Wilson center. Spent most of his career negotiate negotiating. Steve, let me begin with you. If Israel does decide to go in on the ground, what would this operation look like? How long would it last? I noted that the prime minister told the cabinet this morning, it could take time. It could take time. Urban combat is the most dirty, nasty kind of combat there is. It takes a long time. The casualties are high on both sides. I think the Israelis will do everything they can to stay out of an urban conflict. And keep their troops out of gaza. One of the reasons they've been able to hold off so far is the the remarkable success of the iron dome, shooting down the hamas rockets. Not a single Israeli killed so far. Iron dome is remarkable. It consists of very sophisticated radar. It is able to detect the missile launches coming in toward Israel. It makes the determination if the incoming missiles are going to hit into populated areas. It only lox on to those missiles that could potentially hurt people. I'm hard-pressed to find an example where a single weapons system, a defensive weapon system has so neutralized an enemy's opponent. One of the things we see here is that it's kept the civilian casualties low. So the political pressure on netanyahu to invade gaza is low. In a sense, you could say iron dome is preventing a conflict. Civilian casualties in Israel low. But Aaron David miller, the civilian casualties are mounting in gaza. The clock tends to tick there. The more casualties, the more pressure on prime minister netanyahu to go for a cease-fire not a ground war. And on the Egyptians. Who probably risk the most in allowing this to play out. Because, Al sisi knows that more civilian casualties will provoke reactions on the Egyptians streets. The problem, George, is this. Effective mediation requires urgency, a mediator, and a deal. Frankly, right now, you don't have any of those. Hamas and Israel are not done. There's no deal on the table. The Egyptians seem reluctant. And they are the key party because they have influence with Israel. Good relations with the Israelis. Not so much with hamas. They have a demonstrated track record. None of the elements are in place. That's why the tragedy of this entire enterprise is likely to play out for a good while longer. It goes on. Potentially escalates. Is there anything useful the United States can do? We have tremendous leverage with the Israelis, assuming we would use it. The problem is, our leverage with the Israelis depends on hamas' capacity and willingness to deescalate. There's no motivation on them to do that. They went into the crisis weak, in order to justify the destruction that the Israelis are doing and civilian casualties, they have to figure out a way to climb down. But to gain something from this operation. That is not clear what the gain is right now and who will give it to them. We have seen this before. An operation like this in 2009. A lower-scale operation in 2012. What is different this time? The reality is other than iron dome, I think Steve is right. It is a paradox. It both prevents a ground operation and creates additional political time and space for the Israelis not to conclude this quickly. At the end of the day, I'm telling you, I can write the script of how this ends. Hamas says they have beaten the ibf. They get benefit. They'll argue they have degraded the capacity. We will have bought ourselves another year or two. We'll be back at the table at this exact same point within the next two to three years. That's the real tragedy. A lot of innocent people, primarily in gaza, are going to have to die as a consequence. Aaron miller, Steve ganyard, thank you very much.
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