Dr. Ian Lustick, professor of political science
University of Pennsylvania
Author of "Trapped in the War on Terror"
Consultant on Middle East affairs and national security for every White House administration since President Carter.
"The tragedy that has unfolded in Gaza may hold terrible things in store for the Palestinians forced to live there. A replay of last summer's brutal war in Lebanon could well be around the corner as Israel's probable new defense minister, Ehud Barak, will try to find a solution to the missiles Muslim extremists from Gaza have been launching at the Israeli town of Sederot.
"Meanwhile, in those areas of the West Bank ruled by the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is retaliating against Hamas by arresting its activists in the West Bank. Abbas's actions put Israel and the United States in the position of being able, if they really want to, to end the punishing boycott of the West Bank Palestinians implemented after Hamas's electoral victory and even to resume serious negotiations. The latter is unlikely, however, because Israel's government is not strong enough to stand up to pressure from right-wing settlers in the West Bank who oppose any movement toward a Palestinian state solution, no matter how small that state may be."