GIGOT: You think that they can eliminate Hamas --
GIGOT: -- politically and militarily?
STEPHENS: Oh, absolutely. Hamas is not a major military threat to Israel, in the sense it's no match to the Israeli defense forces. And if -- but it would require a sustained operation in Gaza that would have political costs to Israel that would certainly mount -- certainly result in Palestinian casualties and some Israeli casualties as well.
GIGOT: Matt, what do you think about the U.S. response so far, which seems to be we will be a mediator between the two?
KAMINSKI: Well, it's not clear who they would mediate between, first of all. And second of all, we have very little leverage there as in so many other parts of the world these days. The failure of this ill-conceived effort to negotiate peace between the Palestinians and Israel that John Kerry launched --
KAMINSKI: -- that collapsed in spring. The mediator just resigned. So, we have very little capital to use with the Israelis or with the Palestinians. And not many people will take us seriously there anymore.
GIGOT: So there's not much we can do, except let it play out.
All right, thank you, gentlemen.
Still ahead, a bloody summer in the city. Chicago and New York see a spike in shootings. So what's behind the latest spate of gun violence? Our panel weighs in, next.
GIGOT: It's shaping up to be a bloody summer in two of America's biggest cities, with Chicago seeing a stunning 82 shootings in just 84 hours over the July 4th weekend, and New York City ending the month of June with an uptick in gun violence as well. NYPD crime statistics show shootings citywide up 9.5 percent so far in 2014, a figure some attribute to the curtailment of the department's controversial Stop and Frisk program.
We're back with Matt Kaminski, Dorothy Rabinowitz and Kim Strassel.
So, Dorothy, what's behind this upsurge in violence? Let's take New York first.
RABINOWITZ: Let's take New York? Let's take the fact that nobody is really afraid to carry a gun any more now because the overwhelming sense is that police are afraid to pat you down, to come up to you and check you out --
GIGOT: That's what they could do under Stop and Frisk?
RABINOWITZ: That's right.
GIGOT: Stop you and say, do you have a weapon. And if they look suspicious, they could frisk them and confiscate the weapon.
RABINOWITZ: Yes. This is an inhibiting factor now, and police feel this factor, I will be sued, I will be threatened with being sued. It's an entirely human response to all of this. And all of this is a result of an endless, endless campaign against Stop and Frisk as the most incredible violation of human rights ever. Look, 6 percent of this city is public housing. 26 percent of all of the crime, violent crime in the city, takes place in those housing developments.
GIGOT: And it is precisely in those --
GIGOT: -- most violent neighborhoods, and where the residents actually support Stop and Frisk, Matt, as opposed to some of the elite neighborhoods where there's less crime and they can indulge their civil libertarian instincts.
KAMINSKI: Certainly. I think you've seen that people really did appreciate the police being very engaged and watching their neighborhoods like hawks. Overall, this is not -- this uptick in crime has not touched the better parts of -- the wealthier parts of New York. It's been very concentrated, the shooting violence, in part of Brooklyn, up in the Bronx. In mostly minority projects --
KAMINSKI: -- where gangs are carrying guns, you might mention. This is not a problem of gun control --
GIGOT: No. New York has some of the most strict gun control laws --
KAMINSKI: As does Chicago.
GIGOT: -- in the country. Right.
KAMINSKI: As does Chicago. And I think there's really -- Bill Bratton has come back as police commissioner here, was credited with the miracle in New York in the 1990s of decreasing homicides by 80 percent. Mayor De Blasio, Bill de Blasio, here to the left, has brought him back. And Bratton has always denied Stop and Frisk, had any effect, was related to the uptick. But now he says we have to study the problem, there may be something there.
GIGOT: Very interesting.
All right, Kim, let's take Chicago. It's had periodic bursts of murder sprees over the past couple of years. What accounts for the last one?
STRASSEL: So, it's similar to New York, but with a twist. Stop and Frisk hasn't been as much of an issue there. But what you are seeing Chicago is these crimes spiking again in very specific neighborhoods in Chicago, which happen to have a lot of poverty, a lot of people unemployed, not the best neighborhoods. And in that case, there's been a lot of discussion in Chicago, there's been some cuts to police budgets, for instance, and there seems to be a problem with inadequate police forces in some of these neighborhoods. And that's been a big discussion. But, again, you guys touched on something really important. You've got a lot of people out there who are trying to suggest that both the New York and Chicago, that this is the failure of guns laws. Both of those cities are, in fact, examples where the gun laws are so strict, the only people who have guns, are the bad guys. So, it's not that.
GIGOT: So, what about, Kim, how is gun control and this gun violence going to play at all in the upcoming elections? You have former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg come out and say he's going the spend millions against politicians who oppose gun control in the coming elections.
STRASSEL: He's going to need millions. It's a good think he has a lot of money.
Because you have not seen the dial move on this issue among the American public at all, even after the shootings, for instance, in Newtown, where those children were killed. I mean, the Bloomberg group now has this idea they're going to make all sitting incumbent politicians and those who are running fill out a big survey to explain how they feel, and the view seems to be that this is going to pigeonhole some people to then change their votes on gun control because they'll be embarrassed of their position. What's happening, though, Paul, the people who are going to feel the most awkward in doing this are, in fact, a lot of Democrats because they hail --