A conference with the Aspen Institute of Germany featuring lectures on European and NATO policy in the Middle East, the perception of Israel in Europe, and the Iranian threat vis-a-vis Europe. Tuesday, May 27 at 4:00 pm.
The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies has been ranked one of the three top think tanks in the Middle East and Africa, along with Carnegie Middle East Center in Lebanon and the Gulf Research Center of Saudi Arabia.
Despite a perception to the contrary, Israel is not isolated in the international community. Since the end of the Cold War Israel has developed strong ties with most United Nations member states. Attempts to harm Israel through the BDS (boycotts, divestments, sanctions) campaign have failed. Israel’s strategic relationship with the United States should be further developed in order to ensure Israel’s important standing in the international community.
Within the currently-defined, narrow confines of the conventional two-state parameters, no Israeli-Palestinian agreement is likely. Regional alternatives that widen the scope of actors taking responsibility for a settlement can creatively help break the impasse.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the Land of Israel has evolved over the past hundred years. Nowadays, most attempts to solve this conflict revolve around the two-state paradigm. However, a solution based on this paradigm is unlikely to emerge in the near future.
The Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state and are reluctant to drop their armed and ideological opposition to Israel’s existence. The global community can oppose Palestinian denial of Israel’s connection to the land; support Israel’s legitimacy; resettle Palestinian refugees outside of Israel; modify aid programs to reduce Palestinian use of foreign money to support terror; and encourage free speech in Palestinian society.
The changes in the region will force the Obama administration to make some difficult decisions on how to act regarding Egypt, Syria, the Palestinians, and Iran. Alarmist scenarios that a second term Obama administration will abandon Israel are unwarranted.
Israel and the US must improve their lines of communication. The US also ought to consider equipping Israel with enhanced military resources that would allow Israel to confront Iran at a later date – giving the West more time to pressure the Iranian regime.
Obama maintains a grossly overoptimistic assessment of regional realities, which could have dangerous unintended consequences for the US and Israel.
In this new book, eight experts from the BESA Center and other institutes evaluate the Arab earthquakes rocking the Middle East. They consider their implications of the regional volatility for Israel and its chances to live peacefully in the region, as well as the implications for regional and global security.
Dramatic events have unfolded in the Middle East since the beginning of 2011. This unstable environment indicates trouble for Israel. What follows is an assessment of the implications of the changing regional environment for Israel’s national security.
“Nakba Day” confrontations along Israel’s borders reflect new regional realities and a long-term weakening of Israel’s deterrence posture.
Israel must destroy Iranian nuclear facilities and simultaneously launch a comprehensive Middle East peace initiative, relying in part on the Arab-Islamic Peace Initiative of ten years ago. A violent Iranian reaction is to be expected, but its maximum costs to Israel, the US, and all of the Middle East are much smaller than those stemming from Iranian possession of nuclear weapons.
The United States and Iran are trading diplomatic fire, with neither side willing to budge. Iran will continue its drive to the bomb, leaving Obama with no other choice but to take military action.
The best course of action in halting the Iranian nuclear program is a combination of Western sanctions and military threats. Military force should be the last resort taken by the US, and probably not at all. Though a “Grand Bargain” between the US and Iran will not happen, it is imperative that both sides continue negotiating in the hopes that there will be a breakthrough.
The international community appears unlikely to take military action against the Iranian nuclear weapons program because of the “Ostrich Syndrome” – a reluctance to deal with difficult problems and a preference to ignore them.
It is practically impossible and very unlikely that Western intelligence could detect an unambiguous order from Iranian leadership to build a nuclear bomb.
Israel Hayom presents a special roundtable discussion in which five Israeli experts in Middle Eastern and international politics discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, whether Israel can trust the US, and whether the era of American deterrence in the region is over.
A US strike on Iranian nuclear infrastructure is not only necessary, it is also the only course of action that can prevent the impending American retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan from signaling the denouement of US clout in the Middle East.
Though much of the international community sees Mahmoud Abbas as a serious partner for peace, his words and actions prove that he is interested in nothing less than the ruin of the State of Israel.
This important study, based on previously classified data, refutes Palestinian claims that Israel is denying West Bank Palestinians water rights negotiated under the Oslo Accords.
Israel must follow up on its recent declaration to build in and around Jerusalem, particularly in Area E1, which connects the capital to the settlement of Maaleh Adumim. Creating continuous Jewish settlement in that area is necessary to enable Israel to have secure access to the strategic Jordan Valley.
The Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria (the “Levy report”) reinvigorates the discussion of the legitimacy of Israel’s position regarding settlements under international law, after many years in which Israel has been silent about its legal rights.
When the first Qassam rocket landed in the town of Sderot in October 2001, few observers, if any, perceived it as the harbinger of a protracted and increasingly furious campaign by the radical Palestinian groups in Gaza against Israel’s population centers adjacent to the Gaza Strip (the so called “Gaza envelope” communities) by ballistic weapons.
Praise for Iron Dome may be deserved, yet Israel’s deterrence capability has not been enhanced, and Israel’s enemies may initiate an arms race to try and defeat it.
The operation also proved Israel’s determination to act forcefully in the post “Arab Spring” environment. However, the lack of a ground offensive allowed Hamas to craft a victory narrative and gave it the potential to re-arm.
If the appearance of Iron Dome on the battlefields of southern Israel was what compelled Palestinians to scale down the scope of their rocket fire, this would be a major strategic achievement of Israel’s newly deployed missile shield, and a resounding exoneration for the resources invested in it.
The threat to Israel of missile warfare is somewhat exaggerated and public discourse on this issue should reflect realistic assessments. Missile attacks would be able to inflict only limited physical damage on Israel.
Almost the entire Israeli home front has come under rocket and missile assault. This article surveys the Israeli response to rocket attacks, including the targeting of missile launchers and improved civil defense; and discusses the need for a comprehensive active missile defense.
In this roundtable discussion, ten experts at the BESA Center the implications for Israel and the West of the civil war raging in Syria, just across Israel’s northern border. The bottom line: Israel should stay out of the conflict but prepare for continued instability as Syria breaks up.
Bombing Syrian CBW stockpiles could result in significant environmental pollution. If Assad falls, the West needs to ensure secure transposition of these arms to a stable, sane central authority.
As the turmoil in Syria continues and the security environment of Turkey worsens, two factors might lead to unilateral Turkish military intervention in Syria: a refugee crisis that forces Ankara to establish a buffer zone within Syrian territory, or defensive military measures needed to stop PKK terrorism.
Hopes or expectations that the Egyptian military will intervene in the deteriorating political and security crisis are probably misguided.
Morsi’s hosting Ahmadinejad signals a potential improvement in ties between Egypt and Iran. This move will backfire, as ultimately Morsi needs the US and Gulf countries more than they need him.
The Brotherhood sees Israel as a strategic threat and has aggressively lobbied Morsi to strengthen Egyptian military presence in Sinai. The anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from senior Brotherhood leaders must be taken seriously.
Egyptian President Morsi is proving to be a dictator in the footsteps of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
President Morsi says that Egypt wishes to create a civilian nuclear
energy program. Leaders of Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, have called for Egypt to pursue a nuclear weapons program.
Israel’s apology to Turkey is a diplomatic mistake that only enhances Turkish ambitions and weakens Israel’s deterrence.
Tensions between Ankara and Jerusalem have escalated since Turkey harshly criticized Israel following its invasion of the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). This is due to a reorientation in Turkish foreign policy, characterized by moving away from the West and by a desire for better relations with Muslim states.
Syria and Iraq have become battlefields on influence between Turkey and Iran. In Syria, a proxy war is underway, with Iran supplying weapons to its Alawite client and Turkey actively arming the opposition. In Iraq, Turkey and Iran vie for political influence along Sunni-Shiite fault lines.
Turkish demands are unreasonable and an apology will not change the anti-Israeli policy of an increasingly authoritarian and Islamist Turkey. Israel’s reluctance to criticize Erdogan’s government is construed as weakness and Jerusalem should take off its gloves in dealing with Ankara.
The US invasion of Iraq in April 2003 generated a new set of threats and challenges for the Arab states of the GCC, including the possibility of Sunni- and Shi’i- instigated terrorism spreading to the GCC states from Iraq, and, as in Iraq, the outbreak of sectarian fighting in these states.
The process of balancing and satisfying Saudi royal factions depends on patience and conservatism within royal circles. It also requires quiet in the streets of Riyadh and Jedda. Thus far, there are no signs of the so-called “Arab Spring” spreading to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis are all bark and no bite. Despite occasional public “outrage” from Saudi officials about US policy regarding the Arab unrest, Israel, Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan, Riyadh and Washington are still very distant from the parting of ways threatened by some Saudi officials.
The threat emanating from Iran as well as the lack of confidence in US support gives the Gulf states much to fear and has imbued the GCC with new-found unity and purpose.