Perspectives Papers

Perspectives Papers provide analysis from BESA Center research associates and other outside experts on the most important issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East.

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The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze

No. 1007
| November 15, 2018

The recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas was seemingly sparked by the exposure of an Israeli special forces team during a covert operation in Khan Yunis. The Hamas leadership, which apparently is not interested in war, nevertheless chose to respond by escalating to the very brink. Why has the Israeli government refrained (yet again) from instructing the IDF to settle the Hamas threat?

Turkey vs. the Southern Caucasus Republics

No. 1006

On October 13, 1921, the Kars Agreement was signed in the town of Kars in eastern Anatolia (Western Armenia). This agreement redrew, in Turkey’s favor, the Kars-Ardahan-Artvin border between Turkey and the Caucasus republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, an area that had been stripped from Turkey by the post-WWI Sèvres peace treaty. While there are irredentist trends in the now independent Caucasian republics that wish to invalidate the Turkish claim, they are being restrained by present day realities.

An International Jewish View on the Pittsburgh Murders

No. 1005
| November 13, 2018

The killing of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh is the next in a series of lethal attacks targeting Jews and their institutions for decades around the world. In killings outside the US, the murderers of Jews are often Muslim, while in Pittsburgh the murderer was a white supremacist. The First Amendment of the American Constitution enables hate speech, which is a deficiency in any society. The Pittsburgh killings demonstrate that Jews are subject to threat all over the world, including in the US.

The Fragility of Middle East Alliances

No. 1004
| November 12, 2018

Competition among Middle Eastern rivals and ultimate power within the region’s various alliances is increasingly as much economic and commercial as it is military and geopolitical. Battles are fought as much on geopolitical fronts as they are on economic and cultural battlefields such as soccer.

Russia Responds to Military Pressure, not Economic

No. 1002
| November 11, 2018

Russia has been subjected to numerous economic sanctions from Western countries that have tried to compel it to abandon its interventions across the former Soviet space. Although sanctions harm Russia’s economy and raise discontent among the population, they are unlikely to change Moscow’s behavior. Russia’s history shows that it is only military pressure that influences it to change.

Israel Must Make a Decision on Gaza

No. 1001
| November 9, 2018

For over a decade, Israel has avoided deciding whether its interests are better served by maintaining the current “two Palestinian states” status quo, or by seeing Gaza rejoin the Palestinian Authority. The result is an untenable, chronic-crisis situation that empowers Mahmoud Abbas and is a lose-lose situation for Israel.

There Is No Political Solution for Gaza

No. 1000
| November 7, 2018

The claim that an agreement among the US administration, the Palestinian Authority, and the Egyptians to allow the PA to turn the financial screws on Hamas would culminate in the PA’s reassertion of control over the Gaza Strip could not be further from reality. In the Middle East, only armed force prevails.

Can Organized Jewry in Germany Behave “Normally?”

No. 998
| November 6, 2018

Recently, about 20 Jews created a Jewish section in Germany’s right-wing populist and anti-Islam AfD party, prompting a dramatic reaction among the German Jewish community. Seventeen Jewish organizations came out against the Jewish AfD group. Yet the greatest threat to the Jewish community’s future in the country resides not with AfD but with the mainstream parties, the CDU and the SPD. Their joint governments have let in millions of immigrants, many of whom are anti-Semitic Muslims.

Pragmatism Drives the Sino-Israeli Partnership

No. 997
| November 5, 2018

The relationship between China and Israel is based largely on harmonious economic cooperation, although security implications cannot be ignored as the Belt and Road Initiative is implemented. It can be argued that China is interested in playing a risky game in the region that goes beyond economics. Still, the two countries can look for new, original fields in which to collaborate. Jerusalem’s experience of remembering the Holocaust and combating deniers might be useful with respect to Beijing’s remembrance of the Nanjing Massacre.

Chinese VP Visits Israel Innovation Conference

No. 996
| November 5, 2018

In a sign of the importance Beijing assigns to ties with Jerusalem, China’s powerful VP, Wang Qishan, made a visit to Israel last week. He is the highest-level Chinese official to visit since then-president Jiang Zemin visited in 2000. Wang is known as a “firefighter” and is a close ally of President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao.