Target: Americans?

This is a partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, October 15, that has been edited for clarity.

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AHME QUREIA, PRIME MINISTER, PALESTINE: We are sorry about so much. Sorry about what happened today in areas against where there are American diplomat. We condemn it strongly.


BRIT HUME, HOST: The Palestinian prime minister, for now, at least, condemning this bombing today in Gaza (search). American targets have generally been off-limits to terror groups who murder and maim in Israel. But that attack in Gaza today seems clearly targeted. So, what's going on?

We turn to the man who served the last two presidents as special Mid East adviser and negotiator, Dennis Ross, now also a Fox News contributor.

Dennis, welcome.

DENNIS ROSS, FMR. U.S. ENVOY: Nice to be here.

HUME: Now, what do you see in this?

ROSS: Well, there is no doubt in my mind this was something very well planned. They had intelligence. It was organized. It has the earmarks of something from Hamas because it takes an infrastructure to produce this.

HUME: And in Gaza, Hamas is king, right?

ROSS: In Gaza, that's where their strongest infrastructure is, no question.

HUME: They denied it, of course.

ROSS: They have denied it.

HUME: Now, they often take credit for things.

ROSS: They do often take credit for things, although they don't always take credit for things, No. 1. And No. 2, it's possibility that Hezbollah could have been helpful in this regard. And they may not want to be advertising any of that right now.

HUME: Now, there have been denials from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, that group so associated with the Fatah Party, which is the party of Yasser Arafat.

ROSS: That's right. That's right.

HUME: Hezbollah has been silent. Now, their greatest influence is where and where does it come from?

ROSS: They are Shi'ia fundamentalist. They are in Lebanon. But we know in the last year they have begun to do much more with Palestinians. And we know some of these groups, Islamic Jihad and Hamas created connections to them that go back to the time almost a decade ago. So, using their public outlets, they actually have their own satellite station called al Manar. They have been trying to incite greater violence and they certainly have been, I think, active behind the scenes.

HUME: Now, what has changed in the situation over there that would lead to this attack at this time against the United States? What is the logic of it from the side of the terrorists?

ROSS: I think from the side of the terrorists, there is a desire to basically explode everything among the Palestinians. There is a kind of fragmentation that is beginning to evolve among the Palestinians. And the more the fragmentation, the more you have a polarization. The more you have conflict with Israel, not to mention us, the better it is from their standpoint because it means you're never going to fix anything.

They don't want to fix anything with Israel. They want Israel to disappear from the scene. Attacking us, we are the supporting of the Israelis. Attacking us, maybe it brings some greater retaliation. They are not adverse to that kind of retaliation because the worse the situation gets, from their standpoint, the better.

HUME: And the reason for that is what? I mean why if it gets worse, it gets better for them? Why does that make sense from their point of view? What do they want?

ROSS: It means the end of the Palestinian authority. They do want the end of the Palestinian authority.

HUME: And what good would that do them?

ROSS: Because in fragmentation, they become the one force that is coherent, organized. And if everybody else...

HUME: Like warlords?

ROSS: That's right. But they are the best organized, so in that circumstance, they emerge the strongest.

HUME: Now, the statement you keep hearing out of the administration, you heard again from the president today was -- and he his statement -- let's look at the full screen of graphic of what the president had to say. And we can see a little bit of what I'm talking about here.

"Palestinian authorities should have acted long ago to fight terror in all its forms. The failure to undertake these reforms," he says. And he continued to say, "dismantle the terrorist organizations constitutes the greatest obstacle to achieving the Palestinian people's dream of statehood."

Statehood is obviously, supposedly, the long-cherished goal of the Palestinian people, but for these terrorist organizations, that's not the case, correct?

ROSS: Well, they want a state but they want it to be Islamic state.

HUME: And they also want to include the territory that is now Israel, right?

ROSS: They consider Israel to be occupied Palestine. So they reject the very idea of peace. What the Palestinian authority hasn't done, certainly under Yasser Arafat, and also what, frankly, many of our Arab friends have not done, is create a climate where this kind of behavior is discredited.

You know, whenever suicide bombs against Israelis are treated as somehow resistance efforts, and they are glorified, and the people who carry them out are treated and characterized as martyrs, it's not a big leap from taking that step to doing this as well. The fact of the matter is until the Arabs make it clear that this kind of behavior is not just unacceptable, but it won't be tolerated, it's going to be very difficult to change that.

HUME: And when they say it won't be tolerated, who could actually enforce say we won't tolerate this policy? Clearly the Palestinian authority can't or won't. Who would then have to do it?

ROSS: Well, certainly in Gaza they have more capability to do so. In West Bank today, it would be much more difficult.

HUME: Right. But in Gaza they could do it.

ROSS: They could do it. But I think, by the way, Abu Ala, who is as you put it quite correctly, the prime minister for now, he is not saying he's going to stay forever unless he gets what he feels he needs in the security area. He could do it, but he also needs to be enveloped with a kind of legitimacy from doing it from the Arab world. We need the Arabs. We need our friends to go ahead and say the people who are doing this, Hamas, Islamic Jihad; they are a threat to the Palestinian cause. They will ensure there is never a Palestinian state. They will frustrate Palestinian goals and that's why we support acting against it.

HUME: Now, what about retaliation for this by the United States? What is the right move there?

ROSS: It's very hard for me to see us retaliating. We don't have much capability there. Our interest, our focus is obviously elsewhere. We lost people...

HUME: So should we have the Israelis do it or do something?

ROSS: Well, I think in the first instance, what we ought to be going is we ought to be going to the Palestinian authority, and saying to them, if we don't see dramatic move by you, you can count on the fact that we will not support Palestinian statehood. Even though the road map calls for a state, even though the president has embraced it, we should come out and say, there will be no Palestinian state borne of violence. We see no one on the Palestinian horizon right now who is prepared to act accordingly.

HUME: Dennis, thank you.

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