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Fletcher in the News

Q&A With Prof. Bill Martel on Israeli Air Strikes in Gaza

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

The Israeli airstrike that killed Hamas's senior military leader Ahmed Jabari was part of "Operation Pillar of Cloud" launched in Gaza, after days of escalated conflict along the Israel-Gaza border.

What kind of long-term consequences will the airstrike have on an unstable region? GlobalPost spoke with William Martel, an associate professor of International Security Studies at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, about the fallout.

How crippling is the death of Ahmed Jabari to Hamas?

The precise answer, and this will sound like an evasive answer but it’s the right answer, is that it depends on the specific capabilities, role and responsibility that Jabari had. It’s always hard to know how crippling this attack would be on Hamas. One suspects that it will have an effect, though it’s hard to know now. It’s a psychological advantage for Israel. How operationally crippling it is, is to be determined.

The Israeli military said this airstrike was the "start of an operation to cripple militant organizations that launch rockets from Gaza." Is this likely to escalate into a full on war like we saw 4 years ago?

It clearly signals Israeli resolve. It will likely be interpreted as a challenge by Hamas. I am skeptical that it would escalate into a full on war, but having said that I would prepare to be surprised if it does. I think 50/50 is the answer right now. It depends on the resolve Hamas detects on the part of Israel and also on Hamas’ capability to escalate matters, going forward.

Read the full Q&A