Christiane Amanpour Reports on Mounting Tensions Between Israelis, Palestinians

Christiane Amanpour
Around the World

In a special "Around the World," Christiane Amanpour reports from Jerusalem after three days of fierce fighting in the region.

For the first time, both the Israeli Army, the IDF, and Hamas have taken to social media and are threatening each other via Twitter. What the Israelis have said is that no Hamas leader had better show his face above ground. And Hamas has responded by saying that any more air attacks into their territory, any more assassinations, and they are going to reach out and hit vulnerable Israeli targets. What's likely to escalate the problem is whether Israel goes in with ground forces like it did four years ago.  And that turned an air war into a three-week ground war with huge numbers of casualties.

Israel says it has already been able to intercept dozens of Hamas rockets. America stands ready to help but the U.S. thinks this is going to be resolved by the two parties and it will try to exert whatever influence it can, saying Israel has the right to self defense.

This is incredibly important for the United States because it is the first post Arab Spring test of whether Egypt, for instance, will be a mediator and will be able to pressure Hamas as President Hosni Mubarak used to do. The question is whether Egypt's new Islamist leaders will be able to exert that kind of pressure.

Already this region is destabilized. There is an ongoing civil war in Syria and tensions in Lebanon which bring in Hezbollah. And now with these post Arab Spring democracies, leaders who used to be reliable partners of the United States and whom the U.S. could ask to intervene and intercede, are now a lot more answerable to their people. And if their people see that this situation in Gaza is untenable and if they start to take to the streets, to protest against their leaders, if it inflames the Arab street more than it has in the past, that would cause more instability.

Nobody thinks that any Arab country is going to intervene on behalf of Hamas. But what people are concerned about is if it spills over, if there is a refugee crisis, for instance, or if there's political upheaval in those countries.