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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Turkey’s Rants, Raves, and Ramifications

No. 474

Turkey’s Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who recently won a referendum granting him sweeping new powers, has launched a sharp attack on Israel regarding the Palestinians, Gaza, and Jerusalem. It is possible that this attack was part of a Turkish effort to gain hearts and minds in Arab countries.

Macron’s Election and the Challenges He Faces

No. 473
| May 22, 2017

Emmanuel Macron’s election as France’s president by an impressive majority was met by widespread relief in most of the EU countries and in the western world. It would be a mistake, however, to ignore the deep divisions in French society that the election revealed. Large portions of the French public deeply distrust the political establishment, the EU, and globalization. The result was less an expression of support for Macron’s platform and more a rejection of Marine Le Pen. However, the threat to French democracy emanating from the far right as well as the far left is not yet over. Macron will have to overcome huge challenges – and quickly – if he is to deliver on his promises of economic reform and his pledges to bridge the deep gaps in French society and politics.

Nasser’s Legacy on the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 War

No. 472
| May 21, 2017

Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser once shaped and guided Arab public opinion. Cairo was the capital of the Middle East, and Nasser’s secular pan-Arab ideology challenged the West, Israel, and other Arab states. Nasser’s Egypt showed how a developing country with a large population could persevere despite tremendous economic, political, and military challenges. As the 50th anniversary of the 1967 War approaches, Egyptians and Arabs of that generation might reflect with nostalgia on a bygone era when Cairo dominated the Middle East.

The World Did Not Agree to a Nuclear-Armed Iran – Not Even in 10 Years

No. 471
| May 20, 2017

The US and its allies can prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but only if they are clear about what the controversial 2015 nuclear deal actually says. Critics of the agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, often say the deal gives Iran permission to acquire nuclear weapons after 10 years. Yet the stated premise of the plan was that Iran would never build or acquire nuclear weapons – ever.

The Six-Day War: An Inevitable Conflict

No. 470
| May 19, 2017

It has long been conventional wisdom to view the June 1967 war as an accidental conflagration that neither Arabs nor Israelis desired, yet none were able to prevent. This could not be further from the truth. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

Why Should We Give Up Our Nuclear Weapons? Pyongyang’s Perspective

No. 469
| May 18, 2017

For the past few weeks, discussion has been rife among analysts, policy makers, and the media about tension in the Korean Peninsula from the perspectives of Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, and even Beijing. But aside from the North Korean media, no one is asking what Pyongyang should do. What would serve its interests? What are the best policy alternatives for Kim Jong-un? In the wake of US president Donald Trump’s declaration of a new North Korea policy, Pyongyang must analyze the pros and cons of a variety of policy options.

Vietnam, an Emerging Partner in Israel’s ‘Asia Pivot’ Policy

No. 468
| May 17, 2017

Israel is increasingly looking for partnerships in economic, political, cultural, and military sectors with countries in Southeast Asia, and relations with Vietnam in particular are on the upswing. While cooperation between Israel and Vietnam is largely focused on civilian sectors, defense ties are also growing more robust, with Israel getting involved in upgrading aging Vietnamese weapons systems and collaborating on weapons development. There is a visible bonhomie between the nations, and Israel-Vietnam ties are likely to deepen.

Why We Are Surprised by Surprises

No. 467
| May 16, 2017

There is a structured, persistent failure in intelligence research that scholars have either not identified or underestimate: the assessment of long-term processes that develop separately from “objective” quantitative data. This inattention can result in the undervaluation of real dangers at our door. In order to establish a more reliable picture of reality, questions should be raised that challenge the consensus. More than one forecast and predicted future should be presented by synthesizing quantitative facts together with qualitative research. Works of literature, philosophy, and poetry can also serve as seismographs to tremors in the fabric of life.

Reparations for Jews from Arab Countries Should Be an Integral Part of Any Peace Agreement

No. 466
| May 15, 2017

No solution for the Palestinian refugee problem is possible so long as justice is not served for the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.

Hamas: Another Failed Palestinian Organization

No. 465
| May 14, 2017

Mounting evidence suggests that Hamas, viewed as either a terrorist movement or as a government, is one more failed Palestinian organization. It is recognized as such by Gaza’s inhabitants, who no longer show up to their rallies. Its lack of popularity is one reason for the small concessions contained in its recently published document. More concessions will come as popular pressure mounts. Israel should be patient, as time is on its side.