It's a "good sign" the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that began on Sunday is holding, though it's too early to say whether it will continue, says Steven Bucci, a national security policy director at the Heritage Foundation.
"I'm not ready to put my feet up and say it's all done yet. But, this is a good sign. It's better than them shooting at one another," Bucci told Newsmax TV'
s "America's Forum" on Tuesday.
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Bucci said he would be "very surprised" if Israel lifted its blockade of Gaza, as Hamas has demanded, adding that doing so would put Israelis "at risk." What Israel wants, Bucci said, is an end to attacks from Hamas.
"Israel just wants Hamas to stop shooting at them and stop building tunnels to try to do terrorist attacks within Israel. That's all they've wanted since this terrain was turned over to the Palestinians so many years ago," he said.
Israeli troops entered Gaza in July to locate and destroy tunnels Hamas had built that led underneath Israel. Bucci said it will now be easier to monitor that threat in the future.
"Once you know what you're looking for, it's a little easier to find it. So, hopefully, Israel will be able to put in technological measures that will preclude them from having to go in with boots on the ground again," he said.
In Iraq, Bucci said U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, are "better than not doing anything," but added those attacks alone are "not enough to discourage them or to drive them off."
Bucci said ground troops are needed. He said he could envision the United States working with "the Iraqi military, with the [Kurdish] peshmerga, perhaps with some of our regional allies, the Turks or the Jordanians, but with American special operations forces and a lot more air [support] than what we're seeing there now."
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