Indyk on Meet the Press
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Kerry and Indyk at the State Department in Washington. Photo by Reuters

Hamas understands that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is very cautious when it comes to using force, former U.S. Middle East envoy Martin Indyk said in a TV interview on Sunday.

As a result, Indyk added, Netanyahu's "bluff of mobilizing tanks on the border of Gaza hasn't really worked."

Interviewed for NBC's Meet the Press program, Indyk also said that Israel is trying to get the civilian population in Gaza to put pressure on Hamas to halt the rocket fire. That explains the Israeli warning on Sunday to people in the north of the strip to flee their homes, he said.

Regarding the failed peace process, Indyk said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the American team had discovered that the "status quo is actually sustainable for the two leaders" because it involves "less costly political risk."

That situation, he added, has now "become chronic" and the vacuum that it has left is "being filled by extremists and violence."