WATCH: Israel Likely to Continue Ground Assaults; Hamas Emboldened by U.S. Weakness

ABC's 'This Week' with George Stephanopoulos hosts a round table debate in which the focus is on the role the U.S. has played in creating the current crisis in the Middle East.

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ABC News Transcript:

Back now with "The roundtable" along with Martha Raddatz. What is your sense of where this goes next? Reporter: George, I think one thing that was made very clear to me today by the Israelis is that there will be more of those small commando raids into gaza to look for the long-range rocket launchers and the rockets.

The Israelis estimate that hamas has about 10,000 rockets. They have only taken out about 20% of those. We're back in Jerusalem now.

But on the way back, wee did see those tanks, those Israeli tanks amassed at the board. I don't get the sense that the Israelis want a larger ground incursion. If that iron dome fails, all bets are off.

No question. Bill, let me -- you followed prime minister netanyahu for a long time. Do you buy what is becoming a think a little bit of conventional wisdom, that he's quite reluctant to go in on the ground?

Yeah. I think a lot of Israeli prime ministers have been. It's a small country.

You're talking casualties on both sides. If you go in on the ground if way you can minimize if you fight mostly from the air. We'll see how effective the air campaign is.

I think he would much prefer not to go in on the ground. It's a real absence of the American leadership in the region. I think you have these rockets going into gaza from Syria and Iran.

We haven't made a strong enough presence in that region to have people be afraid of this country. So I think there's a sense that they can get away with anything they want to get away with. So much criticism of president Obama for not going in, conducting the air strikes against Syria.

Also some sense there was a wasted effect by secretary of state John Kerry to promote the peace. Between Israel and palestine. I think this is a clarion call that we need to continue to pursue peace.

This neighborhood is getting more and more unstable. At some point, there needs to be a peace agreement. Let's look at iron dome.

Under president Obama, the first direct investment in iron dome. We see how well it's working. There are other defensive military systems being worked on to further protect Israel.

The notion that you should not pursue peace. At some point, there has to be peace there. Has to be.

I think the question, though, Ana, is it a peace that can be sparked by the United States? Or do the parties have to reach it themselves? I think both.

I think we cannot give up having a role in the region and playing peace broker and bringing the parties together. Not only those parties. But other countries and governments that can influence the two parties.

At the same time, America must support Israel. Hamas needs to stop shooting rockets at Israel. Israel has the right to protect her citizens.

At the same time we try to and ask for a deescalation to all this. It can only spiral out of control and take many, many lives. Can any institution, government, country, have leverage over hamas?

Well, Iran used to be funding sending weapons to hamas. I think cokie's point is important. When you have general chaos.

When Isis is conquer iing chunks. If you're a jihadist, you think, I have to get into this fight. Almost to maintain your reputation in the middle east, hamas, you have to take on Israel.

I think American weakness and the growth of jihadists in the neighborhood has emboldened hamas. You keep hearing this. Where is the United States?

Where are you? And Syria being the best example. If we had been in Syria a lot sooner, maybe all of this wouldn't be happening.

Who knows? But the -- But we would have been on the side of Isis in Syria. They wouldn't have been Isis yet.

Credit: Screenshot from ABC's this week

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