"Face the Nation" transcripts November 18, 2012: Sens. McCain, Durbin, Snowe

November 18: Conflict in Israel - McCain, Dur... 46:16

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on November 18, 2012, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Olympia Snowe, R-Me., and a roundtable of David Ignatius, Tom Ricks, Margaret Brennan and Bob Orr.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. We want to get right to the story in the Middle East. Israel continuing to amass troops on the border with Gaza, 53 Palestinians dead, more than 400 civilians have been wounded there. Three Israelis are dead, more than 50 wounded by rocket fire. The airstrikes go on. The question now, will the Israelis send their ground troops into Gaza? We're going first this morning to Alan Pizzey who is in Tel Aviv -- Allen.

ALLEN PIZZEY, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bob. Well, overnight the Israelis continued to pound positions in Gaza. They've expand their operation away from just purely military targets into the Hamas infrastructure. Interestingly, overnight Hamas did not send any rockets into Israel, but they started again when dawn broke and around about lunchtime here in Tel Aviv, two long-range missiles were aimed at Tel Aviv, they were intercepted by the so-called Iron Dome system, which is a new system the Israelis have put in that detects and interprets and destroys rockets in the air. It's been fairly successful. And, you know, here in Tel Aviv you really wouldn't know anything was going on. The siren goes off, everybody runs, but then they're back out and life is pretty much back to normal. But that doesn't mean to say that everybody isn't tense. There is a huge call up, 75,000 reservists sitting ready to go. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after a cabinet meeting that Israel would intensify the conflict if it was necessary. Everybody seems to be looking for a way out of this. The Egyptians are really playing a role in this to try to broker it. They've been talking to the Hamas leadership. They've brought in Turkey and Qatar to help them out. And they're all saying we think we might be able to do this. Bear in mind, that this is not the Egypt of Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government now are Muslim Brotherhood, and so are Hamas. So Israel is in a less-tenable negotiating position, if you will. And they remain militarily strong, but do they really want to go in there on the ground and take hundreds, thousands of casualties among Palestinians? That they've already been warned will cause them to lose what international support they now have. So, it's one of those 50-50 chance things, but it's looking more and more like everybody is looking for a way our. The question is, in a region like this, can they find one, Bob?

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well Allen Pizzey, who always shows up in the worst places where the worst things are going on. Thank you very much, Allen. CBS news correspondent Charlie D'Agata is on the other side of the border in Gaza. Charlie, bring us up to speed. What is the situation like there?

CHARLIE D'AGATA, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mood here is extremely tense. And the biggest worry is that this dangerous and unpredictable situation may be about to get worse. As we drove through the northern part of the Gaza Strip, we were shown a couple of bombed out buildings. And one looked to be three or four stories high. It completely collapsed in a densely populated neighborhood. We also saw craters in what looked to be in vacant lots, but they may have been targeted because these are the areas suspected to hold rocket launching sites. The Israel military has also started targeting media centers, one of the transmission points that serves as the television channel for Hamas and other broadcasters. The rooftop of this high rise has lots of antennas and satellite dishes on top of it. At the same time, we saw outgoing rockets. We heard a series of loud pops, sort of the signature sign of outgoing weapons. And just a few blocks away from us, we were able to count six smoke trails from where those rockets had just been launched. You can hear drones flying overhead constantly. It has never stopped since we've been here. You can hear a couple at a time at times. We also have heard fighter jets overhead recently. You can also see and hear emergency services, ambulance and fire trucks in the streets. But both sides seem to be ratcheting it up. As soon as we arrived our Palestinian colleagues told us to keep our flak jackets on, even indoors because it had become too dangerous. They said in the last 24 hours they had seen the worst since the fighting began earlier this week.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Charlie, you be careful. And we thank you.

D'AGATA: Thanks, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: And here in the studio with us is David Ignatius of the Washington Post. David, you probably know as much about this part of the world as anybody that I know, least here in Washington. What is the administration doing? Where is the diplomacy headed here?

DAVID IGNATIUS, WASHINGTON POST: Well, the administration has been very supportive of Israel initially saying the cause for Israel military action against Gaza was the continuing rain of missile coming from Gaza since the last cease-fire broke down. Israelis told me there have been 700 missiles and they essentially paralyzed the southern part of Israel, people just have to go indoors every time they hear the sirens. In the excellent reports from on the scene from your two correspondents I heard two new things, one the role of the Egyptian president Morsi, a different kind of president that we have seen in Egypt, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, working with another strong Islamist, the prime minister of Turkey, Prime Minister Erdogan. The danger for Israel is that they would move away from the cold peace that Egypt has. The opportunity for Israel is that they would take greater ownership of Hamas and broker a cease-fire. The other new thing-- and it is really important - is that Israel is beginning to have a real missile defense. If your viewers go to YouTube and just punch in Iron Dome, which is the name of this system, paid for partly with U.S. tax money, they will see amazingly effective anti-missile technology at work. And that's said to be 90 percent successful. It discriminates between the missiles that are going to hit cities and the ones that are just going to land in the woods and takes out the ones that are headed for cities. And so it's a potential game changer here.