Martin Bashir | November 16, 2012
>>> air sirens were heard throughout jerusalem today after hamas militants launched rocket attacks. israel 's army radio says missiles landed just outside jerusalem and there are no reported casualties. but it marks a worrying escalation following an israeli air strike on wednesday that killed hamas ' military leader. since then an israeli military spokesman says more than 500 missiles have been fired from gaza into israel . joining us now is michael o'hanlon, who is director of research and a senior foreign policy fellow at the brookings institution and with us here in new york, former u.s. ambassador mark ginsberg , who is also a former white house adviser on the middle east . ambassador ginsberg , given the fact that these missile attacks occur almost on a routine basis across that border, why have things escalated this week?
>> it is a question that no one really has a good answer to other than the attack on hamas ' military leader. the fact of the matter is this escalation has resulted in a cross- border war that almost is beginning to resemble a 2008 war. why? perhaps hamas has decided on instig gation from iran that it basically needs to provoke the muslim brotherhood in egypt to be more supportive of it. perhaps it's iran wanting to deflect attention from syria. perhaps it's an effort by hamas to in effect bridle its credentials to prove to the palestinians on the west bank that its route is the best way to deal with israel .
>> while britain and germany have both said hamas bears the brunt of the blame, mohamed morsi appears to lay some blame on the israelis. is he torn with his fellow islamists and the need to maintain the treaty obligations with israel ?
>> martin, if he isn't yet, he could be soon, and that's, of course, the real danger here. if this thing goes on just for a short time, then maybe we wind up okay. but if it goes on for days or weeks, like the 2008 - 2009 war that ambassador ginsberg referred to, then i think all bets are off as to just how long the egyptian regime can really sustain this stance of sort of being between the two. you know, in a broader sense, of course, the cease-fire that hamas had respected for a number of years never reflected a fundamental strategic change by hamas . it was more a temporary recognition that fighting the what i they had been before wasn't doing them any good. on the other hand in their own eyes, the cease-fire isn't doing them any good either. and so i think they're willing to maybe, as mark ginsberg said, maybe, you know, roll the dice a little, hope with the morsi government in place, maybe things can be different and maybe egypt has to take a different stand than in the past. they're gambling because they don't really like the status quo anyway.
>> ambassador ginsberg , isn't the barely concealed hand here iran ? the iranians supply the weaponry, hamas fires them across the border.
>> there's no doubt that what's happened and it's symptomatic of what the danger is for israel around the borders, whether it's hezbollah where there's 60,000 similar missiles directed at israel , or hamas extended imperialistically and converting it into a failed state and use it as a funnel for iranian missile boats to basically unload supplies and tunnel them under into the sinai into gaza. that's the real danger here. there's almost a repeat of what essentially occurred before. indiscriminate weapons funneling into the sinai by iran .
>> very quickly, mike, do you agree?
>> yeah. i think so. i think -- and the dilemma, it's very hard to stop rockets from being moved around. so the old days there was an unnatural ability to put really almost a very tight perimeter around this strip, but with egypt 's stance shifting and the basic geography of the situation, it's going to be hard to do that. so unfortunately, we could see this sort of skirmish or worse every so often in the future.
>> how long does this go on for?
>> it's going to go on until there's a cease-fire on the part of hamas to stop firing mifessiles into israel and then israel will stand down. under the current situation, martin, with the prime minister -- israeli prime minister facing elections in january, he has to basically satisfy an unremitting requirement on the part of the israeli population to finally deal hamas a real immortal