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Anthony Cordesman, chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and a former Pentagon intelligence official, believes that the Israeli-Palestinian war of attrition will continue to escalate to nowhere for years to come. Outside diplomacy will accomplish nothing real because there is no bargain acceptable to both sides, he argues.
Both sides can escalate the war process. But as Mr Cordesman sees it, the problem is that neither Israel or the Palestinians can really win. Their values and goals are steadily growing further apart and any final settlement is less and less likely.
Mr Cordesman says that if there is to be any real hope, two things have to happen:
• The UN has to help Lebanon actually disarm Hizbollah, stop it from receiving further arms from Iran and Syria, and stop it from bringing military aid to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
• The Quartet group of Middle East mediators needs to put major pressure on Israel to halt unilateral expansion into the West Bank and aid moderate Palestinian voices like Mahmoud Abbas, and on the Palestinians to understand aid and support are tied to either Hamas changing or Hamas going.
Has the Israeli assault on Lebanon played into the hands of Hamas, Hizbollah, Iran, and Syria? Do you agree with Mr Cordesman’s view that a UN peacekeeping force will have a short-term cosmetic impact at best?
Mr Cordesman answers your questions in a live Q&A this Thursday from 3pm BST. Send him your questions now to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online submissions form below.
The most thought-provoking online contributions may be published in the Financial Times newspaper, so please supply your full name and location.
In depth - Arab-Israel conflict